Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Editorials

Low level alcohol consumption and the fetus

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7488.375 (Published 17 February 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:375

Rapid Response:

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome

Over the years in various different support groups for parents of
disabled
children and their families, I have came across mothers who had children
who
had been diagnosed with Foetal Alcohol syndrome. I have never judged
these
mothers but many of them have not had the benefit of proper genetic
counselling.

When they have had the opportunity of accessing genetic counselling
(if they
ever get access to it), the diagnosis is somewhat different to Foetal
Alcohol
Syndrome.

There are also those doctors who assume that certain syndromes such
as
DiGeorge syndrome and other similar syndromes are as a result of drinking
alcohol during pregnancy. They are not! Drinking though can exacerbate

the problems of the developing foetus.

Many of these alchoholic mothers have actually, other problems such
as
thyroid problems, bipolar disorder and manic depression which are often
left
untreated.

Whilst I agree about total abstinence during pregnancy is the best
course of
action, it is the terminology of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome which is so
judgemental and the fact that many of these children are not being
diagnosed
correctly.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

24 February 2005
Fiona Woollard
Personal Assistant
YO24 1EP