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Prevention of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders

Floyd, R.L., Denny, C., and Weber, M.K. – 2011

Provides an overview of the problem of fetal alcohol exposure, and discusses potential prevention strategies. Presents data on the prevalence of alcohol use among pregnant women, including heavy alcohol use and binge drinking. Notes that significant percentages of women drink while trying to conceive, after pregnancy recognition, and during pregnancy. Many report hearing conflicting messages about the safety of drinking while pregnant. Describes three prevention models: universal prevention of maternal alcohol abuse (primarily through public education/awareness), selective prevention of maternal alcohol abuse (directed towards at-risk women), and indicated prevention of FAS (multiple strategies of intervention, treatment, and aftercare). Notes the effectiveness of the screening and brief intervention approach. Discusses the serious public health impact of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and emphasizes the need to communicate clear and consistent messages to women about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy. Notes that medical providers also need training in FASD prevention.