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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness Day

September 9th, 2018


Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness Day

September 9, 2018

When a woman is pregnant, her life choices no longer just affect her. That is, her baby is also directly impacted by the mother’s day-to-day decisions. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. When a mom chooses to drink during her gestational period, the baby she is carrying becomes at risk for a number of issues, including Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders (FASDs).

According to the CDC, “FASDs refer to the whole range of effects that can happen to a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. A person with an FASD might have:

  • Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip (this ridge is called the philtrum)
  • Small head size
  • Shorter-than-average height
  • Low body weight
  • Poor coordination
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Difficulty with attention
  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty in school (especially with math)
  • Learning disabilities
  • Speech and language delays
  • Intellectual disability or low IQ
  • Poor reasoning and judgment skills
  • Sleep and sucking problems as a baby
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones”

Research suggests that 5-10% of all children in the United State fall on the spectrum of disorders caused by maternal drinking, says CNN

FASDs last a lifetime, and there is NO CURE for FASDs. Research does show positive impacts of early intervention with treatment services. But FASD is 100% preventable. It is important to educate women about the dangers of drinking while pregnant. Lori Wolfe, a Certified Genetic Counselor and Teratogen Information Specialist, says “You might think it is common knowledge that there is no safe level of alcohol use during pregnancy, and that any use of alcohol while pregnant has the potential to harm the baby. Yet that message is not getting out to everyone.” Wolfe sites that FASD is thought to be the leading cause of developmental disorders in children, but about 1 in 10 women are still drinking throughout their pregnancies.

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol, the best answer is to seek help.

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