Sanford School of Medicine Center for Disabilities

NOFAS-SD - FASD Facts

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is an umbrella term used to describe the birth anomalies that can occur when a woman drinks alcohol during pregnancy.
  • FASD is not a diagnostic term but rather refers to all the disorders caused by prenatal alcohol exposure.  Included under the umbrella of FASD are:
    • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) with Confirmed Maternal Alcohol Exposure,
    • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) without Confirmed Maternal Alcohol Exposure,
    • Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (PFAS) with Confirmed Maternal Alcohol Exposure,
    • Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (PFAS) without Confirmed Maternal Alcohol Exposure,
    • Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD), and
    • Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND).
  • FASD occurs in about 10 per 1,000 births in the United States.
  • FASD affects as many as 40,000 infants each year.
  • FASD affects more children each year than Spina Bifida, Down Syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy combined.
  • FASD occurs in all racial and socio-economic groups.
  • 9.1 percent of pregnant women between the ages of 15 and 44 reported using alcohol in the month prior to participating in a 2002 survey.
  • In 2003, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome cost the United States $5.4 billion.
  • All Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are 100% preventable. The only cause of FASD is alcohol consumption by women during pregnancy. The only prevention of FASD is no alcohol consumption by women during pregnancy.

For a bibliography of sources used to compile this information, contact the Center for Disabilities.

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