FASD Description


FASD describes neurodevelopmental difficulties (memory, information processing, judgment, physical activities, planning and follow through) and physical abnormalities and that may result from alcohol exposure before birth.

In Australia, over 250,000 births occur each year and with 50 per cent of pregnancies proposed to be unplanned and as many as 60% of women consuming some amount of alcohol from the time of conception to confirmation of pregnancy, the risk of adverse fetal outcomes and neurodevelopmental impairment is very real. If US estimates are applied, (midpoint 3.6% of general population), more than 83,000 individuals could be affected and most will be undiagnosed. FASD has been estimated to affect 2.4% to 4.8% (midpoint, 3.6%) of the general population (May et al, 2014).[1] This year, a global estimate is predicted at 119,000 children born annually with fetal alcohol exposure (Popova et al 2017). [2]

[1] http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/10/21/peds.2013-3319

[2] Popova S. et al. (2017) ‘Estimation of national, regional, and global prevalence of alcohol use during pregnancy and fetal alcohol syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis.’ The Lancet Global Health.

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