Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) Prevention and Treatment | Western Cape Government

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) Prevention and Treatment


Give your baby the best start in life – No amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) happens when a pregnant woman uses alcohol during pregnancy (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is the most severe form of this condition). This is a serious public health problem in the Western Cape. Children with FASD have permanent brain damage, presenting as developmental delays with learning and behavioural problems. If mothers expose children to alcohol during pregnancy, they can be born with FASD. There's no cure, but it's 100% preventable. Alcohol can cause irreversible damage to the developing fetus.

Preventing FASD

Early testing 

Ante-natal booking 

Mothers and women of childbearing age need to be educated and informed of the consequences of FASD. 

Partners and family members can support by abstaining from alcohol for the duration of a pregnancy.


For pregnant mothers, a prenatal history will be obtained, and a full assessment done by a specialist.


Children with FASD can also have neurological, behavioural, and learning problems. Programmes are currently being developed to identify and assist high-risk mothers and to diagnose children with FASD as early as possible. 

Although many of these children experience learning problems, stimulation and management programmes are being developed to assist parents and caregivers. Should a parent/caregiver or teacher be worried about a child, the child can be taken to the nearest clinic, which will refer the child to the most appropriate service for further assessment.


Risk Factors

Risk factors associated with FASD include:

  • Any alcohol consumed during pregnancy
  • Additional substance abuse. Any other substance abuse during pregnancy can affect the unborn infant negatively.
  • The effects of alcohol on the developing foetus get worse with every consecutivepregnancy if the mother consumes alcohol continuously.
  • Genetics
  • Poor health and nutrition
  • Low maternal education. 
  • If surrounded by a drinking partner or family.

How To Get Advice

You can get help at your local clinic, districtregional or tertiary hospitals.

If you are a first-time visitor to a health facility, you will need to fill out a form, and the health facility will open a folder for you. Bring your ID book, any medication you are taking and a clinic or hospital card if someone previously registered you at the facility. You should also bring the child's Road to Health Booklet. If you are worried about your alcohol consumption or have questions to ask the health worker, please do so. There is support available for all living with FASD.


Useful Contacts
Organisation Tel Fax Website
FARR (Foundation for
Alcohol Related Research)

083 275 0202


Pebbles Project 072 472 2797 sophia@pebblesproject.co.za www.pebblesproject.co.za
Narcotics Anonymous SA 083 900 6962 wc-helpline@na.org.za www.na.org.za
086 147 2622
sancanational@telkomsa.net www.sancanational.info
Home of Hope 021 556 3573 info@homeofhope.co.za www.homeofhope.co.za


Provided At: These facility categories:
Provided by:
Government Body: (Western Cape Government)
The content on this page was last updated on 17 November 2022