Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Although doctors can't diagnose fetal alcohol syndrome before a baby is born, they can assess the health of mother and baby during pregnancy. If you report the timing and amount of alcohol consumption, your obstetrician or other health care provider can help determine the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome.

If you let your child's doctor know that you drank alcoholic beverages during your pregnancy, he or she can watch for signs and symptoms of this syndrome in your child's initial weeks, months and years of life. To make a diagnosis, doctors will assess:

  • Growth
  • Facial features
  • Heart health
  • Hearing
  • Vision
  • Cognitive ability
  • Language development
  • Motor skills
  • Behavior

Doctors may refer a child with possible fetal alcohol syndrome to a medical genetics specialist to rule out other disorders with similar signs and symptoms.

If one child in your family is diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome, it's important to evaluate his or her siblings to determine whether they also have fetal alcohol syndrome.

May. 21, 2011