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Module 5: FASD Prevention

Future Research

A recent review that focused on design and methodological issues identified five key elements for future FASD prevention research18:

Doctor reading computer printout
  • Prevalence: Baseline determination of the exact birth prevalence of FASD through active surveillance
  • Social and Medical Risk Factors: Detailed analysis of the social and medical risk factors of mothers of children with an FASD so that appropriate high-risk groups and situations can be targeted
  • Role of the Male Partner: Delineation of the explicit behavioral, social, and psychological role of the male partner in enabling alcohol use during pregnancy19,20
  • Emphasis on High-Risk Women: Focused evaluations on indicated and selective prevention strategies because of the concentrated risk for FASD among a relatively small number of heavily drinking women
  • Community Trials: Institution of well-evaluated, comprehensive, communitywide prevention trials that use public health approaches and include matched control communities and the collection of baseline and postintervention data

Many prevention programs deal with prenatal alcohol abuse, but few have been evaluated.1 In some cases, data have been collected before and after the intervention. Thus, it may be possible to conduct retrospective data analyses to test hypotheses and draw insights about the effectiveness of particular prevention approaches.

Some studies have shown promising results for certain types of approaches. For example, a retrospective study was conducted of pregnant women and mothers who participated for at least 5 months in a California substance abuse treatment program. High-risk women who received basic therapeutic and case management services, especially family therapy, were more likely to abstain from alcohol and drug use than were women who did not receive services.21

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