Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day – September 9th

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day
is always on 9/9
to represent the 9 months of pregnancy

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is 100 percent preventable. The only cause of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is prenatal exposure to alcohol. If a woman does not drink during pregnancy, her baby will not have a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Individuals who already have a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder should receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment, prevention and support services.

Any woman of childbearing age is at risk of having a child with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is she drinks alcohol during pregnancy.  Alcohol can harm a fetus at any time, even before a woman knows she is pregnant.  Many women drink early in pregnancy but stop drinking when they learn they are pregnant.  Others cannot stop drinking without help.  Women who have given birth to children with FASD and continue to drink are at very high risk of having additional children with FASD.

What Problems Do People with FASD Face?
People with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder are vulnerable to a range of difficulties, such as failure in school, substance abuse, mental illness, and involvement in the criminal justice system. A University of Washington study show the percentage of people age 6 to 51 with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder who had difficulties in the following areas:

94 percent had mental health problems
23 percent had received inpatient care of mental illness
83 percent of adults experienced dependent living
79 percent of adults had employment problems
60 percent of those age 12 and older had trouble with the law
35 percent of adults and adolescents had been in prison for a crime
45 percent engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior
43 percent had disrupted school experiences (example: dropped out)
24 percent of adolescents, 46 percent of adults and 35 percent overall had alcohol and drug problems
10 10.Streissguth, A.P.; Bookstein. F.L.; Barr, H.M.;et al. 2004 Risk factors for adverse life outcomes in fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol effects. Journal of Development and Behavioral Pediatrics 25(4):228-238

Did you know that some people should not drink alcohol?

According to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines (2010) some people should not drink alcoholic beverages at all. These include:

  • Children and adolescents
  • This is a special concern for recovering alcoholics and people whose family members have alcohol problems.
  • Individuals who drive or take part in activities that require attention or skill.
  • Women who are trying to conceive, or who are pregnant or nursing.
  • Individuals using prescription and over-the-counter medication.
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