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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) is an umbrella term used to describe the constellation of effects seen in individuals with prenatal exposure to alcohol. Four diagnoses fall under the umbrella of FASDs, reflecting the continuum of effect from moderate to severe:

  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
  • Partial FAS
  • Static Encephalopathy/Alcohol Exposed (SE/AE)
  • Neurobehavioral Disorder/Alcohol Exposed (ND/AE)
Alcohol is a teratogen, which is a substance that causes developmental malformations in an embryo or fetus. Alcohol passes from the maternal blood to the fetal blood. Because the placenta does not filter alcohol, the concentration in the fetus is nearly equal that in the pregnant woman. The only way to ensure prevention of the teratogenic effects of alcohol is complete avoidance during pregnancy and periods of potential conception. Alcohol can adversely affect the fetus throughout pregnancy, including the earliest phase when a woman may not realize she is pregnant. The higher the level of alcohol consumption, the greater the risk to the developing fetus.

The following resources, including CME/CE activities, are intended to help health care providers learn about FASD and provide appropriate patient-centered communication skills to counseling reproductive age and pregnant women on prevention strategies to reduce the risks of FASDs.


Clinical Minute CME/CE Case Study

Meet Carla and review the case of a 30-year-old patient presenting for her first prenatal visit. From Carla’s screening questionnaire, you have concerns about prenatal alcohol exposure. How do you counsel Carla about the risks of FASDs and address changing behavior related to alcohol consumption?

On Demand CME/CE Webinar

Review this recorded webinar with Susan Astley, PhD for the latest strategies that health care providers can use to help prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Dr. Astley is the director of the Washington State FAS Diagnostic & Prevention Network and a nationally-recognized expert on this topic.

Clinical Fact Sheet

Get the key points for practice with this fact sheet designed for providers. This clinical resource details the essentials of FASDs and offers tools for screening and counseling patients.

Patient Education

Download this visual fact sheet to help patients understand the risks of drinking during pregnancy and how to prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

Curriculum Slide Set

Create a CORE user account for free access to ARHP’s comprehensive repository of peer-reviewed, evidence-based teaching materials. The Preventing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders slide set is just one of thousands of available case studies, presentations, images, and learning activities available through CORE.

The Arc's FASDs Prevention Project Toolkit
The Arc developed a toolkit designed to help health care providers spread a consistent message to all women of reproductive age that no amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy. The toolkit includes a number of resources for providers and patients and can be accessed online here.

The Arc - FASD
Prevention ProjectThis project is funded through a cooperative agreement with The Arc.