OUTCOME OF CHILDREN WITH FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME
Multiple pre- and postnatal factors can complicate the outcome of children with FAS. Birth weight, microcephaly, gestational age and prenatal exposure to drugs and tobacco may each independently influence outcome. Isolation of prenatal alcohol exposure as an independent variable in the assessment of outcome is difficult to achieve. Also, referral and case ascertainment bias may select for children with more severe outcomes in some studies.
What is relatively straightforward is the outcome of growth deficits in children with FAS. Height, weight and head circumference deficits gradually improve during childhood. In boys, short stature and underweight persist while girls generally achieve a normal weight by adolescence. By 15 years of age microcephaly persists in about 65% of children but improves in the remainder.
No studies to date specifically address the outcome of children with intrauterine alcohol exposure placed as newborns or infants in stable foster care or adoptive homes.