July 1991

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Misplaced Emphasis-Reply

Author Affiliations

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Department of Family Practice and Community Medicine
Department of Pediatrics The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas 5323 Harry Hines Blvd Dallas, TX 75235-9032

Am J Dis Child. 1991;145(7):721. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1991.02160070015008

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In Reply.—We thank Dr Hess for commenting on our article. However, we believe that making the diagnosis of FAS is important because these are not simply growth-retarded infants. They are at high risk of having developmental abnormalities, some of which may be ameliorated by appropriate early intervention and occupational therapy. Accurate diagnosis of the syndrome may make a difference because the earlier the diagnosis is made, the sooner intervention and therapy may be implemented. We agree that caring for the mother during and after pregnancy is important. However, FAS may already be induced by the time a woman who drinks heavily realizes she is pregnant because organogenesis is frequently completed when the gravid state is recognized.

Hence, in the prevention of FAS, life-style practices of women of childbearing age are the major issue, not obstetrical services rendered. We also agree that providing "widely available sophisticated services to support" parents is appropriate,

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