Key Indicators of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder actually refers to a group of conditions that can occur when a woman consumes alcohol during her pregnancy. These conditions can occur because the unborn child is directly exposed to alcohol through the expectant mother's bloodstream. Unfortunately, alcohol can affect the development of the child's body systems, particularly their central nervous system. The good news, however, is fetal alcohol spectrum disorder can be treated with proper medications and counseling to help the child live up to their fullest potential once they are born and throughout their lives, especially if symptoms are caught early.
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Problems With Eating
For an infant with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, sucking is more of a challenge, due to the lack of proper development in their face, specifically their mouth. In many instances, the baby will face problems with malnutrition because they are not getting enough of the vitamins and nutrients they need to grow and be healthy. Most cases of this symptom require the care of doctors and specialists who can monitor the affected infant's eating habits and ensure they are able to consume the appropriate amount of calories. If the proper procedures are followed, the child can be coached and nurtured into getting what they need.
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A baby with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is more prone to cry and tends to be quite a bit harder to soothe than an infant who does not suffer from this condition. Being held or swayed will typically not work and, since eating is often a challenge for infants dealing with this condition, feedings may not improve their mood either. Some have discovered letting the affected child lay in a quiet and dark area offers the best solution, as being rocked or cuddled does not tend to initiate positive responses. Seeking counseling to figure out what works best for each child with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is advised, as everyone is different and results may vary.
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Infants, from the moment they are born, are always taking in new things and learning about their surroundings. As babies age, they will become more and more interactive, constantly taking notice of new sights and sounds. If a newborn baby shows little interest in the world and does not typically react to prompts from their caregiver, then fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is likely the reason why. Because a baby with this condition will be underdeveloped, they will have less capability in processing things and might be experiencing some sensory issues as well.
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In most cases, newborn babies will wake up periodically throughout the night. As this is normal, it should not cause alarm in parents or caregivers. However, there is a point at which sleeping problems in infants could indicate deeper issues, including fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Specifically, if the child is always inconsolable and screams consistently throughout the night, there may be an issue. Normally, an infant can be soothed back to sleep after eating and being rocked. If the child has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, they will not respond well to being nurtured or cuddled and will likely refuse to take a bottle.
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Hypersensitivity is a common problem in children who have fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. This could mean a child with this condition has extra sensitive hearing or vision. He or she may not tolerate noise well at all and just going outside could put too much strain on their eyes. Other sensory issues they may be dealing with include sensitivity to touch or being bothered by more smells than the average healthy person. It is important to work with a child with sensory issues, whether they are down to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder or not, to ensure they are as comfortable as possible. Seeking a doctor's advice regarding further treatment is also advised.