Young pregnant woman on a visit to doctor. Wearing protective masks during corona virus epidemic

September is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Month

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Resources for Prevention and Care

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are a group of conditions that can occur in a person who was exposed to alcohol before birth. FASDs have lifelong effects, including problems with behavior and learning as well as physical problems. FASDs are preventable if a developing baby is not exposed to alcohol.

CDC and its partners have resources to help prevent prenatal alcohol exposure and provide care for children with FASDs and their families.

Tools for Healthcare Providers

Family Medicine

drinking is not safe during pregnancy

Medical Assisting

  • The University of Nevada, Reno collaborated with the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) to develop Walk & Talk: Healthy Pregnanciesexternal icon products. These resources help maximize the limited time medical assistants have with patients during appointments. The brief walk from the waiting room to the exam room is an opportunity for medical assistants to provide important reminders about alcohol use.

Nursing

  • The University of Alaska Anchorage collaborated with the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), and Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH) to develop a series of “I am a champion because…” videosexternal icon. The videos feature nurses explaining why they are FASD champions and how others can get involved.
  • An articleexternal icon in Quickening, ACNM’s official digital news site, discusses how certified nurse-midwives, certified midwives, and other reproductive health professionals can use alcohol screening and brief intervention to help reduce stigma and bias for their patients.

Obstetrics and Gynecology

risky alcohol use guide
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) developed an FASD Prevention Programexternal icon that provides physicians with resources and tools to communicate with patients about alcohol use during pregnancy.
  • The eModule, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Ethical and Legal Perspectivesexternal icon is a free, online learning module. It helps healthcare professionals consider legal issues and ethical principles used in FASD prevention efforts. The eModule offers continuing medical education and maintenance of certification credits.
  • The FASD Prevention Program also includes tools and videos to help providers address alcohol use during pregnancy and provide alcohol-related resources specific to each ACOG district or section. This includes a list of frequently asked questions providers can use to answer patient concerns.

Social Work

  • The University of Texas at Austin collaborated with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) on a series of blogsexternal icon. These blogs will help social workers understand their role in making alcohol screening and brief intervention part of routine care.
  • NASW published an article providing an overview of best practicesexternal icon in their digital newsletter, Practice Perspectives.

Training and Awareness Resources

Educate to prevent FASD
    • A three-part podcast, Alcohol and Pregnancy: The More You Knowexternal icon, interviews
      • a pediatrician specializing in FASDs,
      • a patient advocate,
      • a mother whose child is affected by prenatal alcohol exposure, and
      • a public health social worker who counsels clients about excessive alcohol use.
    • The podcast series was developed by Boston Medical Center and offers free continuing education through Boston University School of Medicine.
    • The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) has more than 45 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)external icon about prenatal alcohol exposure and FASDs.
collaborative for alcohol free pregnancy Partnering for practice change
  • CDC and the Collaborative for Alcohol-Free Pregnancy offer free online courses for healthcare professionals. The courses focus on preventing, identifying, and managing FASDs, and offer free continuing education. Brief videos are available for supplemental learning as well as a database of more than 75 resources for various healthcare disciplines.

Support for Women and Families

  • The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) has a searchable National and State Resource Directoryexternal icon. This resource can help families locate services related to diagnosis of FASDs, treatment for individuals and families living with FASDs, parent and family support groups, prevention programs, such as treatment for women, advocacy programs, and statewide services.
  • NOFAS coordinates The Circle of Hopeexternal icon, a network of birth mothers whose children were born with FASDs. The Circle of Hope includes a national speakers bureau and mentorship to new members who may be struggling with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) or grief. The network offers a weekly online support group, Recovering Mothers Anonymousexternal icon, available for women who have used alcohol or another substance during pregnancy.

Tools for Public Health Partners

weighted prevalence estimates map
  • Estimates of alcohol use among women aged 18 to 44 vary by state. Data from CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) are available in maps and tables that show the estimated number of women aged 18 to 44 who reported
    • any alcohol use in the past 30 days,
    • having four or more drinks on any one occasion during the past 30 days (binge drinking), and
    • binge drinking among women who reported any alcohol use in the past 30 days.
  • View your state’s alcohol consumption rate in 2019.

More Information