What Is FACS

Fetal Anti Convulsant syndrome is an Umbrella Term for a host of different Epilepsy medications taken during pregnancy that have had an effect on the baby in Utero.

The following medications are medically known to be Teratogenic during pregnancy:

Epilepsy medicines are prescribed for a variety of conditions:

  • Epilepsy
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Depression
  • Pain Relief
  • Migraine
  • Headaches
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia

FACS is thought to arise because some of the medications taken to treat all of the above pass through the placenta and into the developing foetus.

Valproate Complications for Baby:

  • Unusual (Dysmorphic) facial features
  • Congenital Heart Defects
  • Spina Bifida
  • Limb Defects
  • Joint Laxity (Hypermobility)
  • Visual problems such as short-sightedness or squints
  • A delay in reaching milestones
  • Gross and fine motor difficulties
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorders (Dyspraxia, Aspergers, ADHD)
  • Attention and memory difficulties
  • Speech and language difficulties
  • Noise Intolerant (doesn’t like loud noises, tends to cover their ears)
  • Incontinence
  • Asthma
  • Zoo-phobia (petrified of animals)

Developmental problems:

  • Speech & Languages developmental
  • Low Verbal IQ
  • Hearing
  • Vision
  • Fine & Gross Motor Control
  • Hypotonia
  • Short-term Memory
  • An Inguinal Hernia
  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Aspergers Syndrome
  • Dyspraxia

In Boys:

  • Hypospadias
  • Undescended Testes

Major Malformations:

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux
  • Bowel & Bladder
  • Kidney Malformations
  • Heart Malformations
  • Cleft Lip/Palate
  • Spina Bifida & Rib Fusion
  • Radial Short or absent radius in the arm
  • Talipes
  • Polydactyly (Extra) fingers and/or toes
  • Clinodactyly (Curvature of) fingers and/or toes
  • Craniostenosis

Since 2013 there have been a number of research papers which have stated the relation between Valproate in pregnancy and all the above disabilities:

The Prevalence of Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Children Prenatally Exposed to Antiepileptic Drugs: Rebecca Bromley et al. J Neurol, Neurosurg Psychiatry 2013; 0: 1-7

If you feel your child may have FACS you must speak to your GP about your concerns and request to be referred to a Paediatrician or Clinical Geneticist.

Not every child who is exposed to these medicines will have FACS.

CAUTION:  Women should NEVER stop taking their Anticonvulsant medication without medical advice as this could pose a serious risk to their health, and if pregnant, the health of your unborn child.