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Fetal Anti-Convulsant Syndrome

What is Fetal Anti-Convulsant Syndrome?

Fetal Anti-Convulsant Syndrome can occur when a mother has taken anti-convulsant medication (anti-epileptic drugs) during pregnancy. The risk is approximately 5-10% of babies exposed to these drugs may be affected.

Symptoms of Fetal Anti-Convulsant Syndrome

A child with Fetal Anti-Convulsant Syndrome may have a variety of problems including physical, developmental learning and behavioural difficulties. Symptoms experienced will vary amongst individuals with Fetal Anti-Convulsant Syndrome, as will the severity of these symptoms.

Some common problems associated with Fetal Anti-Convulsant Syndrome include:

  • Speech and language difficulties
  • Developmental delay
  • Social interaction difficulties
  • Memory and attention problems
  • Poor motor control
  • Impulsive behaviour
  • Obsessive behaviour
  • Temper tantrums
  • Low birth weight
  • Hyperextensible joints
  • Reduced speech clarity
  • Attention seeking
  • Noise intolerance
  • Problems with balance
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorders
  • No sense of danger
  • Noise intolerance
  • Abnormal fear of animals
  • Deformed feet
  • Poor fine motor control
  • Finger abnormalities
  • Vision problems
  • Painful hips
  • Hearing problems
  • Bowel problems
  • Cleft lip/palate
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart defects
  • Limb abnormalities
  • Spina bifida

None of the above problems are specifictoFetal Anti-Convulsant Syndrome but may occur as a result of the syndrome.

It is currently not clear which anti-epileptic drugs carry higher risks of developing Fetal Anti-Convulsant Syndrome, or whether different drugs cause different problems.

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