Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term for a range of physical, developmental, learning and behavioral disabilities that can result when mothers consume alcohol while pregnant. FASD is the leading preventable cause of birth defects and developmental and behavioral disabilities.

Watch this August 2023 BCTV video to learn more about FASD and services available for pregnant women with substance use disorder in Berks County.



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Read our Blog post, "10 Facts about FASD," with videos to learn more about alcohol and pregnancy.

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Local Prevention & Treatment Resources:

The Council on Chemical Abuse disseminates informational brochures about FASD, particularly during September, which is FASD Awareness Month.

Maternal Recovery Services – Interventions to support recovery, linking pregnant and parenting women to community resources.

Berks Co. Intermediate Unit Pregnant & Parenting Teen Services – BCIU offers a number of services for pregnant teens, including nutrition and health care.

Watch this September 2022 BCTV Update on Support Services for Pregnant Women

Frequently Asked Questions

How much alcohol is safe to drink during pregnancy?

The U.S. Surgeon General announced in 2005 that no amount of alcohol is safe to drink during pregnancy.

Is there any time during a pregnancy when it is safe to drink?

No. When a pregnant woman consumes alcohol, it enters her blood stream and is passed on to her child. This can occur at any point during a baby’s development.

Is it safe for women to drink when they are trying to get pregnant?

A woman should stop drinking when she begins trying to get pregnant. Otherwise, she risks unintentionally exposing the baby to alcohol before she is aware that she’s pregnant.

Should a woman worry about FASD if she’s not pregnant and not trying to get pregnant?

Women of childbearing age who are sexually active and not using contraception, could get pregnant and unintentionally expose the baby to alcohol. Talk to your health care provider about using contraception regularly.

What if a woman drinks before she knows she is pregnant?

It’s important for a woman to let her health care provider know. Because brain growth takes places throughout pregnancy, the sooner a woman stops drinking, the better it is for her baby.

If a woman drinks during pregnancy, will the baby have an FASD?

Because every pregnancy is different, drinking alcohol may affect one baby more than another. It is always important to share concerns about alcohol consumption during pregnancy with a health care provider.

What is the cure for FASD?

There is no cure, but FASD is 100 percent preventable when women do not consume alcohol during pregnancy.

National Resources:

Alcohol Use in Pregnancy from the CDC

FASD United