FASD is the most common preventable cause of non-genetic development disability in Australia. Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder refers to a range of disabilities such as learning, behavioural and developmental, that result from alcohol exposure during pregnancy. Alcohol consumed during pregnancy crosses the placenta and can cause complications of pregnancy and damage the developing foetus. The risks are greatest with high, frequent alcohol consumption during the first trimester.
“FASD is a devastating condition, but is entirely preventable,” said AMA president, Associate Professor Brian Owler. He said the key to reducing alcohol-related harms is a change in the Australian drinking culture, with a new focus on promoting and encouraging more responsible alcohol consumption. “It is important that all health professionals are trained and supported to ask women about their alcohol consumption.”
Recent research found that about 40 per cent of Australian women drink some alcohol during their pregnancy.
This article first appeared in www.AJP.com.au