BMA report

Alcohol and pregnancy: preventing and managing fetal alcohol spectrum disorders

In an update to our 2007 report, we outline the responsibilities of healthcare professionals and policy makers to improve the prevention, diagnosis and management of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

Location: UK
Audience: Public health doctors
Updated: Monday 7 September 2020
Topics: Population health
Public Health Article Illustration

What you will get from this report

  • An update to our 2007 report Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
  • A summary of the international evidence on the effects and consequences of alcohol on a baby before birth.
  • Case studies from individuals who have been personally impacted by FASD (fetal alcohol syndrome disorders).
  • Recommendations on actions to take to tackle the harms caused by FASD including diagnosis, treatment, research and education.


Key findings

  • FASD are completely preventable through the elimination of drinking during pregnancy.
  • There is a lack of reliable and consistent data on FASD incidence in the UK. It is important that awareness of FASD in the UK is raised among the general public and healthcare professionals.
  • The effective management of FASD necessitates
    cooperation between a wide range of healthcare professionals as well as individuals in the fields of education and social services.
  • Following diagnosis it is vital that appropriate
    treatment and support systems are implemented at the earliest possible stage to ensure the best outcomes for the child and their family.
  • Introduction
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
  • Alcohol consumption of women of childbearing age and during pregnancy
  • Awareness of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in the medical profession
  • Prevention of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
  • Diagnosis and management of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix 1 - ethics, rights, duties
  • Appendix 2 - Different criteria for FASD diagnosis
  • Appendix 3 - Characteristics associated with FASD
  • Appendix 4 - Maternal alcohol consumption and fetal behaviour
  • Appendix 5 - UK guidelines on alcohol consumption during pregnancy
  • Appendix 6 - T-ACE, TWEAK and AUDIT-C alcohol screening questionnaires
  • Appendix 7 - Indicated prevention interventions in the USA
  • Appendix 8 - Timeline of aspects of management from preconception to adulthood