The Universal and Primary Prevention of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD): A Systematic Review

Jacobsen, B., Lindemann, C., Petzina, R. et al. The Universal and Primary Prevention of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD): A Systematic Review. J Primary Prevent (2022).


Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) comprises multiple neurodevelopmental disorders caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy. With a global prevalence rate of 7.7 per 1000 population, FASD is a leading cause of prenatal developmental disorders. The extent of physical, mental, and social consequences for individuals with FASD can be vast and negatively affect their social environment, daily life, school, relationships, and work. As treatment for FASD is labour- and cost-intensive, with no cure available, prevention is key in reducing FASD prevalence rates.

As most systematic reviews conducted so far have focused on specific FASD risk groups, we investigated the effectiveness of universal FASD prevention and primary preventive strategies. We identified a total of 567 potentially pertinent records through PubMed, Cochrane Library, EBSCO, PubPsych, and DAHTA published from 2010 to May 2020, of which 10 studies were included in this systematic review.

Results showed a substantial heterogeneity in the studies’ quality, although all preventive measures, except one, proved effective in both increasing knowledge and awareness of FASD, as well as decreasing the risk of an alcohol-exposed pregnancy. Limiting factors such as small sample sizes and a lack of behavioural change testing require further studies to support existing evidence for FASD prevention and its implementation, as well as detecting the best course of action for FASD prevention when creating and implementing prevention and intervention approaches.

Click here to read the open-access research article.

Leave a Reply