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Does anyone know anything about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

(55 Posts)
QuickTour Thu 02-Oct-08 15:33:28

Around 18 days after conception and with no idea I was pregnant I got really drunk. Prossecco, red wine, brandy.

Once I found out I was pregnant I didn't touch another drop.

My daughter is clever, sociable and behaves normally. She does not have an indistinct philitrum or a thin upper lip. She is nearly 2 and has been walking since 10 months, knows her alphabet, sings several songs word perfectly, is chatty and speaks in pretty near full sentences.

She does however have epicanthal folds, drooping eye lids, a flat mid face, an underbite and a heart defect - all of which are symptomatic.

The wisdom appears to be that facial features always imply brain damage and come at the far end of the spectrum but I have no worries whatsoever about her development. Do they not really know? I've been looking for signs of this since the day I found out I was having her with abject terror. And I don't know if I should do anything about it.

I've read absolutely everything I can find on the internet so I'm hoping really for someone who has some knowledge of it first hand - what should I do?

PuppyMonkey Thu 02-Oct-08 15:34:55

I'm not an expert at all. All I know is i got drunk several times before I knew I was pregnant - REALLY DRUNK. Both my dds are fine.

scorpio1 Thu 02-Oct-08 15:35:33

i think fetal alcohol syndrome ocmes from heavy prolonged drinking throughout pregnancy, not one time when you didn't even know - this happens to a lot of people.

QuickTour Thu 02-Oct-08 15:40:12

I've become a bit of a bore on this subject by reading myself silly and the first 11 days appear to have no effect - from that day on the brain and face are being formed. My child looks like an FAS child. She does not act like and FAS child. This is not supposed to be possible - all the literature says that facial abnormalities only come when the brain has been terribly damaged too.

bundle Thu 02-Oct-08 15:41:29

agree with scorpio re: prolonged, heavy drinking throughout pregnancy

Kewcumber Thu 02-Oct-08 15:47:38

I know lots about FAS and FAE.

No-one knows why some children have effects from relatively mioor alcohol use whilst some alcoholics produce babies with no effects at all.

However experts would agree that rarely will a one of binge produce FAE to any great degree.

If she has she has no thin top lip and a distinct philtrum then she does NOT look like a typically brain damaged child with FAS, even though you seem to think she does.

Isn't it possible that her hert defect is a condition whcih comes with other facial features you mention. Or even that this is just the way she looks - do you think she looks "unusual" or more to the point do other people think she looks unusual?

Why does it matter - you seem to be overanxious about this to fixate on it for 2 years when your daughter is developmentally normal so far seems uot of proportion.

I don't think you should do anything you will never know why your DD looks the way she does.

PS my DS has epicanthal folds and flat mid face - no FAS but asian ancestry!

Miyazaki Thu 02-Oct-08 15:49:49

Quick Tour what is your dd's heart defect?

QuickTour Thu 02-Oct-08 15:53:59

thank you kewcumber

she does look unusual. With no asian ancestry at all she looks very japanese around the eye area and her underbite/small chin makes her look really quite strange. Beautiful but odd - people say she looks like a pixie.

she has a heart murmur, unusually large teeth, and minor ear defects.

Kewcumber Thu 02-Oct-08 15:56:51

Are you worried becuase you feel you may have somehow "caused" it?

I would just tyr to let it go. She is who she is, hopefully her heart defect is manageable and her development continues normally and she is a happy child. Its really any all of us can hope for isn;t it? We just do our best - try not to find a label for her, just revel in her pixieness!

becstarlitsea Thu 02-Oct-08 15:57:59

QuickTour - you say yourself that you've read yourself silly. Step away from the emotion-led-research! The heart defect must be really worrying for you. May be totally wide of the mark but it sounds like you're looking for a reason that it's your fault, and it's not. She doesn't sound like she has FAS. And she sounds beautiful.

QuickTour Thu 02-Oct-08 15:59:33

I suppose I'm worried because she sees a cardiologist next week because of the heart murmur and the paediatrician (sp?) commented last month on her flat mid face - I wonder if I should say something to the health professionals or if that will just put something on her record and mine that will do nothing helpful.

Miyazaki Thu 02-Oct-08 16:00:21

Does she have a cardiologist? Has her murmur been investigated?

What are the ear defects?

My dd2 has some sim facial features + heart condition and she has an underlying syndrome, hence all the questions.

Miyazaki Thu 02-Oct-08 16:01:13

Sorry x post.

QuickTour Thu 02-Oct-08 16:02:56

miyazaki - yes, cardiologist next wednesday, first appointment. her ears have unusual folds in the cartilage - looks like a rose in an odd way

what syndrome?

TinkerBellesMum Thu 02-Oct-08 16:11:47

Your body is clever, the baby isn't attached to the mother until around the time she would find out so that she can't inadvertently harm the baby. You stopped drinking when you found out so I seriously doubt that you have given your baby FAS, she sounds like she is doing really well. I think you've had some good advice on this thread.

TigerFeet Thu 02-Oct-08 16:11:50

IMO you would be incredibly unlucky for your daughter to have FAS caused by one episode of drinking.

Many women drink to excess before they know they are pregnant and subsequently give birth to healthy babies - I count myself in that number as do a lot of other women on here, there have been threads past on this very subject.

It may be worth mentioning what happened but I rather suspect that your consultant will rule it out if you do. I only say it's worth mentioning as hopefully you can then put your mind at rest about this. I hope you get some answers next week that make you feel less guilty

Miyazaki Thu 02-Oct-08 16:11:57

So, you are going to be seeing cardiologist, and she has a paed, so if there is an underlying reason for her facial features (other than gorgeousness) and murmur, they will find it.

Please do not beat yourself up about having a big old session so early in your pg - FAS is prolonged and intensive drinking throughout the pg. You could mention it to them, but only if you want them put your mind at rest! I was secretly convinced that my dds heart murmur was caused by my skiing at 6 wks pg. Mad I know, but that's what I really believed deep down. I told my dd paed that's what I thought and he laughed (in a nice way...)

QuickTour Fri 03-Oct-08 09:09:02

just wanted thank you all - had to dash off
thanks for the kindness

mamadiva Fri 03-Oct-08 09:21:29

The week of my 18th birthday I spent 6 days being blazing drunk and I mean paraletic every night 'celebrating' as it was my 18th, then my friend's 21st and then her brothers 18th within 4 days so yeah don't remember much of that but anyway 3 days later I found out I was 5 weeks pregnant. I cried with guilt and never touched even one drop after that! My DS is fine thankfully, but my doc said it's mostly caused by prolonged drinking throughout pregnant.

marmadukescarlet Fri 03-Oct-08 09:31:03

When I was maybe 4 weeks with DD BEFORE I knew (irregular periods and DEF not trying to get pg) I got so pissed I cannot remember getting home from the party! Was such expensive wine that I didn't have a hangover either. I did not drink at all after that.

She is an advanced articulate child, who at 7 had an IQ of 141+.

by the time I was pg with DS I was virtually teetotal. When I was 29-31 weeks went on hols and had a large baileys a few evenings.

He has a flat midface (hypertolorism) epicanthal folds, droopy eyelids, global developmental delay, PDA (heart condition - like one of the twins on Holby if anyone watches) (and many other things) these are probably caused by an underlying genetic cause (he also has mild CP).

I cannot tell you how many times I have been seriously quizzed re my drinking habits, I find it quite offensive as a person that has only had 6 nights this year when I have had alcohol, and then only one time when I drank more than 2 glasses of wine and this is how I've been for the last 10 year since that one incident when I got drunk whilst pg with DD. (also about if I had any active STD when pg and in labour)

DO NOT GOOGLE! I found it so distressing and scary when DS was oyunger and it is not helpful.

If her development is progressing normally than you have nothing to worry yourslef about.

Pushpinia Fri 03-Oct-08 09:41:32


I agree with everyone that it is unlikely to have been something you did.

i know what you mean about the physical signs of something not quite right - I have been googling too, my second son has an odd little face and people do comment on it - he hasn't been diagnosed with anything else as yet - but he is only 16mo.

From what you describe it could be any number of chromosomal deletions rather than FAS but that's not to say it is anything at all! Most of these slight anomalies are so minor that apart from the trouble with her heart, nothing else might present as anything to worry about. There can sometimes be very slight developmental delays etc but seriously, nothing noticeable most of the time.

It is frustrating not knowing the answer, if you really are worried perhaps ask for a blood test to determine her genetic make up as this is probably the only way they can give you precise info.

She sounds lovely btw! x

solidgoldbrass Fri 03-Oct-08 09:43:15

FAS is rare and almost certainly has a genetic component which is more relevant than the mother's behaviour. Much of what is claimed about it is simple misogyny aimed at controlling women's behaviour.
Step away from the nasty ill-informed woman-hating bullshit that will come up when you google this topic, and enjoy your DD for who she is.

QuickTour Fri 03-Oct-08 09:44:47

thanks mama and marmaduke

crikey marmaduke - sorry to hear about the difficulties your little boy is facing.
I had no idea that the things my dd has could be caused by other things - just goes to show how focused you can be on what you think is happening!

My dd1 was five months old when I concieved dd2 - I'd literally just stopped breast feeding so I hadnt started my periods again and dd1 was concieved on fertility drugs so we didnt think we had a cat in hells chance of concieving. I didnt actually find out that I was pg until really late because of this - luckily having a 5 month old daughter I wasn't out much anyway but we did have that one night out on our anniversary and its haunted me ever since. I read everything I could find and the second she was born I could see she had some minor issues. I have made her sound really strange - shes actually really beautiful in a cartoony kind of way. And she's funny and wonderful and kind and bright, so I have nothing but blessings. I just feel that while we are going through this series of tests they may be able to diagnose what the problem is quicker if they have all the information I have.

expatinscotland Fri 03-Oct-08 09:46:49

Please try to let this go!

A couple of days before my period was late, DH and I went down our local and got bladdered on a Red Bull and voddy pitcher special they were running.

Then I got violently ill. I thought it was hangover, but it continued. Turns out it was pregnancy nausea.

I never drank again - didn't eat much either - until we went on holiday to Ireland when I was about 6 months along and I had a couple of pints of Guinness.

And a pina colada a couple of days before she was born.

She has severe dyspraxia and I was still beating myself up about it as early as last month at her paed appointment when the paed assured me it's NOT from anything I did.

I don't know why I even thought that considering DH, his brother and their dad are all diagnosed dyspraxics.

DD1 has a small head, but no other 'symptoms'. Her paternal uncle's got a small head, too.

marmadukescarlet Fri 03-Oct-08 09:55:28

No problem QT.

Pushpina is right far more likely to be underlying deletion/duplication etc some of which we all have. eg DS has co-joined toes (2and3) afterwards I noticed so do I! My DH has slightly odd eyes and comes from 3 generations of Oxbridge grads. My DS has bi-lateral (both hands) single palmer creases, an indicator of some quite debilitating genetic condidtions - but so does Tony Blair and he is (alledgedly) normal. My DH has one on one hand too.

Perhaps you could ask for a genetic referral, although tbh it is unlikely to get you anywhere unless she has a very common 'syndrome'. They haven't yet isolated the cromasome which has caused DS' issues despite MANY tests, including bloods/dna being sent to USA and Belgium (where they specialise in the connective tissue disorder that is closest in clinical presentation to DS' condition) and if they haven't found out by the time he is 5 they will stop looking despite all his problems (metabolic disorder, health,mobility, communication and learning difficulties).

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