University of Vermont

The Center on Disability and Community Inclusion (CDCI)

FASD Overview

What is FASD?

FASD, the non-diagnostic umbrella term, will be used hereafter to describe individuals with central nervous system dysfunction and heavy prenatal alcohol exposure, with or without physical abnormalities.

FASD Facts1

  • FASD refers to the range of disorders that can occur when a pregnant woman drinks alcohol while pregnant. The disorders can include physical effects as well as effects on the brain that may result in problems with learning, emotions and behavior.
  • Alcohol is more harmful on the developing fetus than cigarettes, heroin, cocaine or crack.
  • There is no known safe amount of alcohol to drink during pregnancy.
  • When a pregnant woman drinks, her child receives the same concentration of alcohol. FASD is 100 percent preventable by not drinking while pregnant.
  • FASD is the leading preventable cause of intellectual disability, birth defects and a leading known cause of learning disabilities. Prevent FASD by not drinking while pregnant.

Reading Material from the FASD Center on Excellence


  1. Kotsch, J. (2012). Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Facts. Women's Health. Apr.

Last modified October 01 2012 02:48 PM

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