HealthDay News — In a clinical report published online Sept. 10 in Pediatrics, recommendations are presented to support pediatric providers in managing patients with a diagnosis of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).
Noting that FASDs are as common as other well-known conditions such as autism spectrum disorder, and that the effects of having an FASD can last a lifetime, Renee M. Turchi, MD, MPH, from St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and Drexel Dornslife School of Public Health in Philadelphia, and colleagues provided recommendations for pediatricians to foster approaches for prenatal alcohol exposure screening and to guide management of a child with an FASD.
According to the report, pediatricians should understand the epidemiology and prevalence of FASDs. To optimize screening and monitoring of children, pediatricians should collaborate and communicate with obstetric providers with respect to prenatal alcohol exposure and risk factors. They should understand the classifications and diagnostic criteria for FASDs as well as the implications for screening, care, and management. All infants, children, and youth should be screened for prenatal alcohol exposure. Children exposed to alcohol prenatally should be monitored for physical, behavioral, and cognitive effects of exposure. Patients and families should be linked with resources and supports for early intervention services, the education system, the behavioral/mental health system, and other community resources when appropriate.
Pediatricians are also advised to “embrace a preventive approach to FASDs, as there is no amount of alcohol during pregnancy that is risk-free,” the authors write.