Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Call your child's doctor for an appointment if you see any symptoms that concern you. Your child's doctor will let you know if your child needs to see a specialist, such as a doctor specializing in heart problems (cardiologist) if your child has a heart issue.
Because appointments can be brief, and there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to arrive well prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you've noticed in your child, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you took during pregnancy. Also, let your child's doctor know if you drank alcohol during your pregnancy, and if so, how much and how often.
- Consider asking a family member or friend to come with you. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all of the information provided to you during an appointment, especially if you've been told that there may be something wrong with your child. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time with your child's doctor. For fetal alcohol syndrome, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my child's symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes for these symptoms?
- What kinds of tests does he or she need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- Will my child's condition improve over time? Will it get worse?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- How can I prevent this from happening in future pregnancies?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
- Are there medications that may help, and are there medications that should be avoided?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your child's doctor, don't hesitate to ask any additional questions that may occur to you during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your child's doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you first notice your child's symptoms?
- Have these symptoms been continuous or are they only occasional?
- Does anything seem to improve the symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen the symptoms?
- Did you have any problems during your pregnancy?
- Did you drink alcohol while you were pregnant? If yes, how much and how often?
- Did you use any illegal drugs during your pregnancy?
- Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: Fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/documents/FASD_english_spanish.pdf. Accessed March 30, 2011.
- Bailey BA, et al. Pregnancy and alcohol use: Evidence and recommendations for prenatal care. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2008;51:436.
- Drinking alcohol during pregnancy. March of Dimes. http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/alcohol_indepth.html. Accessed March 30, 2011.
- Effects of alcohol on a fetus. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content//SMA07-4255/SMA07-4255.pdf. Accessed March 30, 2011.
- Burd L, et al. Diagnosis of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: A validity study of the fetal alcohol syndrome checklist. Alcohol. 2010;44:605.
- Understanding fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: Getting a diagnosis. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. http://fasdcenter.samhsa.gov/documents/WYNKDiagnosis_5_colorJA_new.pdf. Accessed March 30, 2011.