Infants who were exposed to alcohol, consumed by the mother during pregnancy, results in a disorder known as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) that can cause problems with growth and development and can lead to brain damage. The severity of the disorder in the infant can vary and normally includes a mix of physical, behavioral, and mental disorders. These children often have varying degrees of learning disabilities. The effects of FAS may not be fully recognized at birth, but may continue to develop over time, even after entering school and into adulthood.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is caused by a woman consuming alcohol while pregnant. Alcohol enters the bloodstream and crosses the placenta to the growing fetus, resulting in a much higher concentration in the baby’s blood. The alcohol in the baby’s system disrupts the delivery of oxygen to the growing tissues and organs. Since the organs are not fully developed, they cannot metabolize the alcohol and results in dysfunction of the brain, heart and physical feature deformities. Complications of exposure may arise later in the child’s life and include mental disorders, depression, ADHD, physical and sexual aggression and inappropriate behaviors that can lead to alcohol or drug use and dependency, risky lifestyles and death.
Patient will exhibit optimal cognitive functioning, appropriate behaviors and impulse control; Patient will have minimal
Patient’s mother/caregiver may report:
Patient may report:
Perform complete assessment of systems including heart and lung auscultation
FAS often results in deformities of the heart and lungs and may result in murmurs, heart valve disorders or respiratory diseases such as asthma
Assess infant for signs of withdrawal that include:
It is still controversial as to whether or not infants experience withdrawal symptoms.
There are certain symptoms that appear to be consistent in infants with FAS as listed, and should be monitored if FAS is suspected.
Obtain history of pregnancy from patient’s mother
Measure head and abdominal circumference of infant
Infants with FAS generally have smaller head size that indicates microcephaly.
Abdomen may be distended following birth. This may require nasogastric intubation.
Minimize external stimuli
Infants and children with FAS are often easily excitable and become agitated and fussy with excessive noise and physical stimuli.
Maintain calm atmosphere and cluster care as much as possible.
Provide education and counseling for parents/caregivers
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