Self-management

The psychological and emotional problems associated with fetal alcohol syndrome can be difficult to manage for the person with the syndrome and for the family.

Experts know that fetal alcohol syndrome is completely preventable if women don't drink alcohol at all during pregnancy.

These guidelines can help prevent fetal alcohol syndrome:

  • Don't drink alcohol if you're trying to get pregnant. If you haven't already stopped drinking, stop as soon as you know you're pregnant or if you even think you might be pregnant. It's never too late to stop drinking during your pregnancy, but the sooner you stop, the better it is for your baby.
  • Continue to avoid alcohol throughout your pregnancy. Fetal alcohol syndrome is completely preventable in children whose mothers don't drink during pregnancy.
  • Consider giving up alcohol during your childbearing years if you're sexually active and you're having unprotected sex. Many pregnancies are unplanned, and damage can occur in the earliest weeks of pregnancy.
  • If you have an alcohol problem, get help before you get pregnant. Get professional help to determine your level of dependence on alcohol and to develop a treatment plan.
May 25, 2017
References
  1. AskMayoExpert. Fetal alcohol syndrome. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
  2. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs): Facts about FASDs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/facts.html. Accessed March 13, 2017.
  3. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs): Alcohol use in pregnancy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/alcohol-use.html. Accessed March 13, 2017.
  4. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs): Secondary conditions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/secondary-conditions.html. Accessed March 13, 2017.
  5. Fetal alcohol syndrome. American Academy of Family Physicians. https://familydoctor.org/condition/fetal-alcohol-syndrome/#questions. Accessed March 13, 2017.
  6. Williams JF, et al. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Pediatrics. 2015;136:e1395.
  7. Effects of alcohol on a fetus. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. https://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA07-4275/SMA07-4275.pdf. Accessed March 13, 2017.
  8. Weitzman C, et al. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: Overview of management and prognosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 13, 2017.
  9. Wilhoit LF, et al. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: Characteristics, complications, and treatment. Community Mental Health Journal. In press. Accessed March 13, 2017.
  10. Weitzman C, et al. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: Clinical features and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 13, 2017.
  11. Hoecker JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 25, 2017.