Mothers of children with fetal alcohol syndrome who drank more alcohol and drank excessively early in gestation have more severe clinical features. Alcohol use in late pregnancy is primarily associated with prematurity and infants who are small for gestational age, rather than with the full fetal alcohol syndrome. One prospective study of 31 604 pregnancies found that the consumption of one or two drinks a day was associated with an increased risk of giving birth to a baby who was growth retarded.(31,> Because of these risks, treatment must begin with prevention. There is no clearly agreed safe dose of alcohol for pregnant women. Because there is no known safe amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, it is recommended that women who are pregnant or who are planning a pregnancy abstain from drinking alcohol. Special efforts for educating women of child-bearing age are required that highlight the harmful effects of alcohol; identified children must be referred for early educational services.
A comprehensive treatment programme begins with parental acknowledgement of the aetiology of fetal alcohol syndrome and treatment for the parent, as indicated, for alcohol misuse and abuse. Parental counselling should include discussion of the physical and behavioural phenotype. The family should be advised about the need for special educational programmes and assisted in behavioural management. Family therapy is often required to help family members cope with the developmental disorder. Appropriate educational and behavioural treatment resources are needed to address the social deficits, particularly in those cases where attention-deficit disorder and autistic-like behaviour are indentified.
Fetal alcohol syndrome is also considered as a cause of mental retardation in CMp^L^d..
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