Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Treatment & Management

Updated: Feb 03, 2023
  • Author: Keith K Vaux, MD; Chief Editor: Santina A Zanelli, MD  more...
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Medical Care

The medical care of the child with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is treatment for associated birth defects and intervention for potential cognitive and behavioral abnormalities.


If fetal alcohol syndrome or FASD is suspected, consult a subspecialist (eg, geneticist, developmentalist) to confirm the diagnosis and provide guidance for formulating an ongoing care plan.



The US Institute of Medicine has outlined a public health model of prevention for fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). This model includes three levels: universal, selective, and indicated.

Universal prevention attempts to promote the health and well-being of all individuals in a society or particular community by educating women about the risks of alcohol for the developing fetus and about the importance of avoiding alcohol consumption during pregnancy. This type of prevention can be accomplished with public education and primary care.

Selective prevention and intervention is targeted to individuals in the population who are at increased risk (ie, women of reproductive age who drink alcohol and who have the potential to become pregnant). This step can be accomplished with effective screening for alcohol use and with brief interventions.

Indicated prevention and intervention is intended for the highest-risk women who are drinking risky amounts of alcohol and who are likely to become pregnant (eg, women who have previously delivered an affected child and who continue to drink). This level of prevention and intervention might be accomplished with treating such women for alcohol dependence and with case management.