By Jennifer Faringer
As we approach fall and the month of September, let’s consider spreading the word regarding Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Month, and Sept. 9 International FASD Awareness Day.
The effects of FASD related disorders can last a lifetime but FASD is 100% preventable. Avoiding all forms of alcohol throughout pregnancy (or even while at risk for or considering pregnancy) will guarantee that a child will not be born with a FASD.
A new National Institutes of Health study found that rates of FASD are comparable to that of autism. Up to one in 20 U.S. school children may have a FASD, many of those children are undiagnosed. The approximate 40,000 babies born each year with a FASD, often resulting birth defects, intellectual or learning disabilities, behavior problems, and difficulties learning life skills. Yet about one in 10 pregnant women in the U.S., ages 18-44, reports having at least one alcoholic beverage in the past 30 days while pregnant according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Plan for a healthy baby, don’t drink any alcohol if you are pregnant or could become pregnant. If you become pregnant, stop drinking alcohol, everyday matters. The sooner you stop drinking the better the outcome for your baby.
Help is available. For resources that include education, diagnosis, intervention, treatment referral visit our website at: www.ncadd-ra.org. See our FASD resource page at: https://ncadd-ra.org/resources/awareness-campaigns/fetal-alcohol-spectrum-disorder/ or call 585-719-3480 for more information.
Jennifer Faringer is the director, DePaul’s NCADD-RA (National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence-Rochester Area).