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Brain structure/neurology

Definition

On average a newborn baby’s brain weighs about 350 – 400 grams which is about the size of a grapefruit. Every part of the brain has a function.

Microcephaly
Microcephaly is a condition where a baby's head is much smaller than expected when compared to other babies of the same age or gender. During pregnancy, a baby's head grows to allow for the growth of the baby's brain. With microcephaly the baby's brain may not have developed properly during pregnancy, or stops growing after birth. Microcephaly can be due to changes in the genes or exposure to infections during pregnancy, such as rubella, toxoplasmosis or cytomegalovirus. It can also be caused by exposure to harmful substances such as alcohol, certain drugs or toxic chemicals.

Seizures
A seizure is a sudden surge or burst of electrical activity in the brain. It can be caused by an event that happened to the individual during birth, exposure to alcohol and drugs, stroke, head or brain trauma.

How might the person with FASD be affected

A baby with FASD may be born with a head and brain that is significantly smaller than a normal sized baby of the same gender and age

Children with microcephaly may have brains that have not developed properly

Children with FASD may have seizures, vision or hearing problems or cerebral palsy

Tips for managing these difficulties

Depending on the severity, babies and children will need care and treatment as well as routine check-ups to monitor growth and development.

 

RETURN TO: Common difficulties and tips

Page last updated 10 October 2019