Medical history for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)

If your baby or child is suspected as having effects from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) a doctor will try to get a detailed medical history. Your doctor will want to know about the mother's drinking behavior and the baby or child's growth and development patterns.

Questions for the mother

It can be difficult to share information about how much alcohol you drank while you were pregnant. This can be so for a number of reasons, such as feeling guilty, ashamed, or truly not knowing how much you drank. Talk honestly with your doctor about your drinking habits. Accurate information can help your doctor detect and treat problems in your child as early as possible. Early diagnosis is important for helping a child with alcohol effects to reach his or her full potential.

A doctor may ask:

  • How many drinks right now does it take you to feel good or get high?
  • Did it take you about the same number of drinks to feel this way while you were pregnant?
  • How often is it hard for you to get up in the morning after drinking alcohol?
  • Has any family member, friend, or health professional been concerned about how much you drink?

Questions if a baby or young child has symptoms

  • Does your baby have any sleeping or eating problems?
  • Does your baby pay attention to things in his or her environment? For example, does the baby follow the movement of a person with his or her eyes?
  • Does your baby seem to develop skills, such as rolling over, later than other babies?
  • Is your child unusually sensitive to touch, such as complaining about tags in the back of clothes; or to light or sound, such as complaining that light is too bright or sounds are too loud?

Questions if an older child has symptoms

  • Does your child seem to have problems paying attention?
  • Does your child seem to be overactive for his or her age?
  • Does your child have any speech problems that are not normal for his or her age, such as difficulty learning new words?
  • How does your child get along with other children his or her age?
  • Does your child seem to be aggressive at times?
  • Does your child understand the concept of cause and effect?
  • How does your child react to changes in his or her routine?
  • Does your child seem to forget the same information over and over?

Questions or evaluation tools, such as the Denver Developmental Screening Test, may be used to assess the child's achievement of developmental tasks.

Last Updated: March 17, 2009

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & William Gilbert, MD - Perinatology

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.