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, 106 (5 Pt 1), 1059-64

Recognition and Prevention of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome


Recognition and Prevention of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

R Louise Floyd et al. Obstet Gynecol.


Alcohol use among women of childbearing age is prevalent in the United States, with approximately 1 in 5 nonpregnant women reporting binge drinking (5 or more drinks on any one occasion) and 1 in 25 pregnant women reporting binge drinking. Alcohol use during pregnancy results in a spectrum of adverse outcomes known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is one of these disorders. Fetal alcohol syndrome is characterized by specific facial abnormalities and significant impairments in neurodevelopment and physical growth. Early identification of children with FAS has been shown to enhance their long-term outcomes. In an effort to improve clinical recognition of children with this condition, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was directed by Congress in 2002 to lead the development of uniform diagnostic criteria for FAS and other prenatal alcohol-related conditions. The purpose of this commentary is to provide clinicians a summary of the report released by CDC describing the current diagnostic criteria for FAS. In addition, advancements have been made in screening and brief interventions for alcohol use disorders in women who have the potential to make significant strides in the prevention of FAS spectrum disorders. Knowledge of the diagnostic criteria for FAS can lead to increased identification of the syndrome in infants and children and the provision of appropriate medical and support services. Screening for and intervening with women at risk for an alcohol-exposed pregnancy can prevent FAS and other fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

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