Information for Patients
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
Also called: FASD
Alcohol can harm your baby at any stage during a pregnancy. That includes the earliest stages, before you even know you are pregnant. Drinking during pregnancy can cause a group of conditions called fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). Children who are born with FASD can have a mix of problems, such as medical, behavioral, educational, and social problems. The kinds of problems they have depend on which type of FASD they have. The problems could include
- Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip
- Small head size
- Shorter-than-average height
- Low body weight
- Poor coordination
- Hyperactive behavior
- Difficulty with attention and memory
- Learning disabilities and difficulty in school
- Speech and language delays
- Intellectual disability or low IQ
- Poor reasoning and judgment skills
- Sleep and sucking problems as a baby
- Vision or hearing problems
- Problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones
Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is the most serious type of FASD. People with fetal alcohol syndrome have facial abnormalities, including wide-set and narrow eyes, growth problems and nervous system abnormalities.
Diagnosing FASD can be hard because there is no medical test for it. The health care provider will make a diagnosis by looking at the child's signs and symptoms, and will ask whether the mother drank alcohol during pregnancy.
FASDs last a lifetime. There is no cure for FASDs, but treatments can help. These include medicines to help with some symptoms, medical care for health problems, behavior and education therapy, and parent training. A good treatment plan is specific to the child's problems. It should include close monitoring, follow-ups, and changes when needed.
Certain "protective factors" can help reduce the effects of FASDs and help people who have them reach their full potential. They include
- Diagnosis before 6 years of age
- Loving, nurturing, and stable home environment during the school years
- Absence of violence around them
- Involvement in special education and social services
There is no known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy. To prevent FASDs, you should not drink alcohol while you are pregnant, or when you might get pregnant.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Fetal alcohol syndrome (Medical Encyclopedia)
Pregnancy and Substance Abuse
When you are pregnant, you are not just "eating for two." You also breathe and drink for two, so it is important to carefully consider what you give to your baby. If you smoke, use alcohol or take illegal drugs, so does your unborn baby.
To protect your baby, you should avoid
- Tobacco. Smoking during pregnancy passes nicotine and cancer-causing drugs to your baby. Smoke also keeps your baby from getting nourishment and raises the risk of stillbirth or premature birth.
- Drinking alcohol. There is no known safe amount of alcohol a woman can drink while pregnant. Alcohol can cause life-long physical and behavioral problems in children, including fetal alcohol syndrome.
- Illegal drugs. Using illegal drugs may cause underweight babies, birth defects, or withdrawal symptoms after birth.
- Misusing prescription drugs. If you are taking prescription medicines, carefully follow your health care provider's instructions. It can be dangerous to take more medicines than you are supposed to, use them to get high, or take someone else's medicines. For example, misusing opioids can cause birth defects, withdrawal in the baby, or even loss of the baby.
If you are pregnant and you are doing any of these things, get help. Your healthcare provider can recommend programs to help you quit. You and your baby's health depends on it.
Dept. of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health
- Alcohol and pregnancy (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Neonatal abstinence syndrome (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Smoking and Pregnancy (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
General Equivalence Map Definitions
The ICD-10 and ICD-9 GEMs are used to facilitate linking between the diagnosis codes in ICD-9-CM and the new ICD-10-CM code set. The GEMs are the raw material from which providers, health information vendors and payers can derive specific applied mappings to meet their needs.
- Approximate Flag - The approximate flag is on, indicating that the relationship between the code in the source system and the code in the target system is an approximate equivalent.
- No Map Flag - The no map flag indicates that a code in the source system is not linked to any code in the target system.
- Combination Flag - The combination flag indicates that more than one code in the target system is required to satisfy the full equivalent meaning of a code in the source system.