September is FASD Awareness Month

Armstrong Indiana Clarion Drug & Alcohol Commission (AICDAC) is joining the cause to increase awareness of the risks of drinking alcohol while pregnant. The U.S. Surgeon General advises pregnant women and women who are considering becoming pregnant to abstain from alcohol consumption to eliminate alcohol-exposed pregnancies.  According to the CDC, it is estimated that 40,000 babies are born each year with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), which is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual who was exposed to alcohol before birth.

A growing baby is exposed to the same concentration of alcohol as the mother during pregnancy. No amount of alcohol use is known to be safe for a developing baby before birth. Exposure from any type of alcoholic beverage, including beer and wine, is unsafe for developing babies at every stage of pregnancy. FASDs are completely preventable if a developing baby is not exposed to alcohol before birth.

FASDs can impact a child ’s physical, mental, behavioral, or cognitive development. The most visible condition along the continuum of FASDs, is characterized by growth deficiencies, central nervous system disabilities, and specific facial characteristics., The number of children born with FASD alone is comparable to Spina Bifida or Down Syndrome. Prenatal alcohol exposure is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, prematurity, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), as well as a range of lifelong physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities.

To prevent FASDs, do not drink any alcohol if you are pregnant or could become pregnant. A woman often does not know she is pregnant for up to 4-6 weeks after conception. In the United States, nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned. If you become pregnant, stop drinking alcohol immediately. Every day matters. Because brain growth takes place throughout pregnancy, the sooner a woman stops drinking the safer it will be for her and her baby. If you need help abstaining from alcohol or any other substances, please contact AICDAC at any of the following county locations:

Armstrong-724.545.1614       Clarion- 814.226.6350                        Indiana-724.463.7860

For more information on alcohol use during pregnancy and FASDs, visit www.nofas.org or www.cdc.gov/fasd.