South African Journal of Child Health
On-line version ISSN 1999-7671
Print version ISSN 1994-3032
Anti-epileptic drugs administered during pregnancy can cause structural defects in the growing fetus and result in adverse neuro-developmental outcome later in life. Fetal valproate syndrome (FVS) results from teratogenic effects of valproic acid exposure in the prenatal period. It is characterised by a distinctive dysmorphic facies and a cluster of minor and major anomalies, as well as developmental and behavioural abnormalities. We describe a 14-month-old boy with the typical dysmorphic facies and other congenital abnormalities characteristic of FVS. There was a history of maternal intake of sodium valproate during pregnancy. The mechanism of teratogenicity and methods for prevention are discussed.