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First published Wednesday 10 July 2019.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is characterised by severe neurodevelopmental
impairment resulting from an unborn child’s exposure to alcohol during pregnancy.
The effects of prenatal alcohol exposure are lifelong and may not be seen at birth.
Problems include brain damage leading to delayed development, social, behavioural
and learning problems. These can lead to secondary outcomes such as poor school
performance, unemployment, substance abuse, mental health problems and early
engagement with the justice system. FASD can be found in all parts of our society and
impacts the individual, their family and the whole community.

The placenta cannot keep harmful substances such as alcohol away from the fetus. The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia advises women who are planning a pregnancy, who are pregnant, or who are breastfeeding, that ‘no alcohol is the safest option’.