Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) in babies result from intrauterine exposure to alcohol and are the most common non-heritable causes of intellectual disability, developmental issues and birth defects. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is the most common of these disorders and symptoms may present at birth or later on. Signs include abnormal facial features such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip, a small head, low birth weight and height, poor coordination, hyperactivity, difficulty with attention and memory retention.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring
This is the process of checking the condition of your fetus’s heart rate during labor and delivery. A pair of belts is wrapped around your abdomen to measure: one belt uses Doppler to detect the fetal heart rate and the other belt measures the length of contractions and the time between them. Your baby’s heart rate can fluctuate depending on how labor is progressing. If you’re giving birth in a hospital setting, your healthcare provider will want to watch these stats carefully to make sure your baby isn’t in danger.
First Trimester Screening
There are more than a few different tests to measure genetic issues. Integrated Screening takes the results of your 12 week ultrasound and bloodwork and takes a follow up blood sample at 16-18 weeks. The results measure risk for Down Syndrome and Spinda Bifida. A sequential screen is similar to integrated screening, but your doctor reviews the results with you right after the first phase at 11-14 weeks. It’s not as accurate as the longer test, but it lets you know your baby’s risk earlier.
Flat Head Syndrome (Plagiocephaly)
This condition occurs when a baby prefers sleeping on one side of their head to the other, so a flat spot develops on the back or side of their very soft little head. For this reason, it’s a good idea to shift the direction baby faces when sleeping (from the left to the right and back again) so that flat spots don’t develop. Try putting a rolled up blanket or towel under one side of baby’s head to prop it gently towards one direction as well as encouraging adequate tummy time to reduce risk of this condition.
Folic acid is a pregnancy rockstar that helps prevent birth defects of your babe’s brain + spinal cord. It’s a man-made form of the B vitamin, folate, which is crucial is producing red blood cells and helping your baby’s neural tube develop into the brain + spinal cord. Since birth defects occur within the first 3-4 weeks of pregnancy, you should have some folate in your system already, so get it going while you’re trying to conceive. A multivitamin with folic acid will do the trick pre-pregnancy. Once those double lines show up, bump your dosage to at least 400 mcg daily. Some docs recommend between 600-800 mcg depending on genetic history, diet and other criteria. As always, check in with your healthcare provider on what’s best for you.
A forceps delivery is a type of assisted vaginal delivery that may be used if your cervix is fully dilated, your membranes have ruptured and your baby has descended into the birth canal head first but you can’t push the baby out. Sometimes if delivery isn’t progressing, your doctor or midwife will use forceps–think salad tongs–to help pull the baby out of the birth canal during a contraction while you push.
Fragile X Syndrome
Fragile X Syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects a child's learning, behavior, appearance and health. Symptoms can be mild or more severe, and often boys have a more serious form than girls. Symptoms, which generally occur by age 2, include trouble learning skills like sitting, crawling or walking, problems with language and speech, not making eye contact, temper tantrums, poor impulse control, anxiety and frustration, hyperactivity, sensitivity to light or sound, and aggressive or self-destructive behavior in boys.