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Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects can include physical problems and problems with behavior and learning. Often, a person with an FASD has a mix of these problems.

CDC works with partners across the country to develop systems to monitor FASD exposures and outcomes, conduct epidemiologic studies and public health research to identify maternal risk factors associated with giving birth to a child with an FASD, and implement and evaluate FASD prevention and intervention programs.

Click on one of the following links to learn more about CDC’s research:

Highlighted Articles

Neurobehavioral disorder associated with prenatal alcohol exposure
Report to help providers care for children with neurobehavioral disorder associated with prenatal alcohol exposure.

Alcohol use and binge drinking among women of childbearing age – United States, 2011-2013
1 in 10 pregnant women aged 18-44 years reports consuming alcohol and about 1 in 33 reports binge drinking in the past 30 days. This means that about one third of pregnant women who consume alcohol engage in binge drinking.

Prevalence and characteristics of women at risk for an alcohol-exposed pregnancy
Many women in the United States are at risk for an alcohol-exposed pregnancy, including those who are trying to become pregnant, because they continue drinking alcohol even after they have stopped using contraception (birth control).

Understanding and improving health messages about alcohol and pregnancy
The American Journal of Health Education published a study looking at women’s knowledge and beliefs about alcohol use and its risks during pregnancy, the role others play in influencing women’s behaviors, and women’s sources of health information to understand this issue.

Alcohol Use and Binge Drinking Among Women of Childbearing Age – United States, 2006-2010
The report, Alcohol use and binge drinking among women of childbearing age – United States, 2006–2010, describes findings from the BRFSS examining any alcohol use and binge drinking among pregnant and nonpregnant women of childbearing age (18–44 years) in the U.S. from 2006 to 2010.

Low to Moderate Alcohol Use During Pregnancy and the Risk of Specific Neurodevelopmental Effects in Five-Year-Old Children
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology published five papers from the Lifestyle During Pregnancy Study which examined three specific neurodevelopmental outcomes in five-year-old children whose mothers reported drinking low to moderate amounts of alcohol during pregnancy.

The effects of alcohol use during pregnancy and later developmental outcomes: An analysis of previous studies
The journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research has published a meta-analysis of multiple studies examining how drinking patterns of women during pregnancy can affect the development of their children.

Reduce Risky Alcohol Use
Most adults who drink at risky levels and were asked about their alcohol use during checkups were not advised to drink less.
(Published: March 30, 2017)

FASD Awareness
Find out what we know about FASDs and what can be done to prevent the disorders.
(Published: September 6, 2016)

Living with FASDs: In Taylor’s Own Words
Read about one person’s personal struggle with FASD.
(Published: September 8, 2015)

Alaska Public Health Nurses Address Alcohol
Alaska has one of the highest reported rates of binge drinking in the nation, so public health nurses were interested in approaches that might address this problem.
(Published: April 13, 2015)

Living with FASDs: Sasha’s Story
Read about Sasha’s experiences with FASDs and learn about new materials on alcohol use during pregnancy.
(Published: September 8, 2014)

Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention
1 in 13 women reports drinking alcohol during pregnancy, which can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs).
(Published: September 9, 2013)

Alcohol and Pregnancy: Why Take the Risk?
How much do you know about alcohol use during pregnancy? Take our quiz to find out.
(Published: April 22, 2013)

Alcohol and Pregnancy: Melissa’s Story
Read about Melissa’s experience with alcohol use during pregnancy.
(Published: August 31, 2012)

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: One Woman’s Story
Read about one woman’s experience with FASDs. Information about new tools and resources you can use is also provided.
(Published: April 23, 2012)