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Prevention of harm caused by alcohol exposure in pregnancy

Rapid review and case studies from Member States

The lifelong disabilities caused by exposure to alcohol in pregnancy (known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders), together with other negative effects of exposure to alcohol on the pregnancy, are an important public health concern. In the WHO European Region and the European Union (EU), alcohol use among women of childbearing age is common and while many women may drink before they know they are pregnant and stop once they find out, some continue to drink after they have discovered that they are pregnant. A major concern is the number of unplanned pregnancies where the woman will continue to drink well into her pregnancy. Ensuring health in early life is a particular focus of public health policy in the Region and the EU, which includes in utero. This report gives an overview of the literature on interventions to prevent alcohol exposure during pregnancy that target both pregnant and non-pregnant women, in line with policy documents in the EU and the Region. It reviews the literature on prevention of alcohol exposure in pregnancy from studies published in the last decade. Case studies from eight regional Member States are presented, to share experiences of prevention in the Region.