Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are completely preventable if a woman does not drink alcohol while she is pregnant or could become pregnant. If a woman of childbearing age is sexually active she can choose to use effective contraception or to abstain from alcohol to avoid an alcohol exposed pregnancy. When counseled about the risks of an alcohol exposed pregnancy, often women choose to do both: abstain from alcohol and use effective contraception. If a woman is drinking during pregnancy, it is never too late for her to stop, as the adverse effects of alcohol on fetal development occur throughout pregnancy and are cumulative.
The sooner a woman stops drinking during a pregnancy, the better the outcomes for both herself and the pregnancy. If a woman is not able to stop drinking, she should contact her doctor, local Alcoholics Anonymous, or local alcohol treatment center. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a Substance Abuse Treatment Facility locator. This locator helps people find drug and alcohol treatment programs in their area.
FASDs are 100 percent preventable if a women doesn't drink alcohol while she is pregnant.
Mothers are not the only ones who can prevent FASDs. The father’s role is also important in helping the mother abstain from drinking alcohol during pregnancy. He can help her abstain from drinking alcohol by avoiding social situations that involve drinking and by not drinking alcohol himself. Significant others, family members, schools, health and social service organizations, and communities can also help prevent FASDs through education and intervention.
In February 2005, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an Advisory on Alcohol Use in Pregnancy to raise public awareness about this important health concern. To reduce prenatal alcohol exposure, prevention efforts should target not only pregnant women who are currently drinking, but also women who could become pregnant, are drinking at risky levels, and are having unprotected sex.