Diagnosing

Doctors may suspect foetal alcohol syndrome in a baby after it has been born if it has some of the distinctive facial features and hasn't grown fully, and it's thought that the mother drank alcohol during pregnancy.

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome

Doctors may suspect foetal alcohol syndrome in a baby after it has been born if it has some of the distinctive facial features and hasn't grown fully, and it's thought that the mother drank alcohol during pregnancy.

However, the diagnosis cannot be confirmed until the child shows clear features of delayed development and the mother's alcohol habit has been confirmed.

Doctors do also check for other causes of the child's delayed development, including genetic abnormalities. They will usually carry out a thorough physical examination of the baby to check for physical abnormalities.

Some children who have suffered brain damage from alcohol won't have the classic facial features of foetal alcohol syndrome, but they could still be severely affected. So it's important that children who show some or all of the behavioural and developmental problems described are assessed if it's known that the mother drank alcohol in pregnancy.