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Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: Management and prognosis

Carol Weitzman, MD
Pat Rojmahamongkol, MD
Section Editor
Carolyn Bridgemohan, MD
Deputy Editor
Mary M Torchia, MD


Prenatal exposure to alcohol is a leading preventable cause of birth defects and developmental disabilities. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a term that is used to describe the range of effects that can occur in an individual who was prenatally exposed to alcohol and may have lifelong implications and high societal costs [1].

This topic will provide an overview of the management of FASD. The clinical features and diagnosis of FASD and alcohol use in pregnancy are discussed separately. (See "Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: Clinical features and diagnosis" and "Alcohol intake and pregnancy".)


FASD is an umbrella term that encompasses the range of physical, mental, behavioral, and cognitive effects that can occur in individuals with prenatal alcohol exposure [2,3]. In most diagnostic schema, FASD is not a diagnostic term but describes a group of specific conditions, including (table 1) [4,5]:

Fetal alcohol syndrome

Partial fetal alcohol syndrome

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 13, 2016.
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