10 Facts about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
September is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Month. FASD is a term used to describe a range of effects, including mental, physical and behavioral, that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy.
In recognition of FASD Awareness Month we have put together a few facts about alcohol, pregnancy and FASD.
- FASD is 100 percent preventable. It is prevented by abstaining from alcohol while pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
- FASD is not rare. An estimated 40,000 infants each year are affected by it, and as many as 1 in 20 children has an FASD. In fact, alcohol use during pregnancy is the leading known cause of birth defects and developmental disabilities in America.
- A developing fetus can’t process alcohol. Alcohol passes directly from the mother to the baby, who will have the same blood alcohol level as the mother.
- It’s not okay to drink if you’re sexually active and not using contraceptives. According to the CDC, as many as 49 percent of all pregnancies are unplanned. Alcohol can harm the fetus at any time, even before a woman knows she is pregnant.
- There’s no safe time to drink during pregnancy. The baby’s brain is developing throughout pregnancy and can be affected by exposure to alcohol at any time.
- Alcohol during pregnancy is worse than heroin or cocaine. While all substances of abuse are dangerous to a developing fetus, alcohol produces the most harmful neurobehavioral affects.
- It’s never too late to stop drinking. The sooner a pregnant woman stops drinking, the better it will be for her baby and herself.
- There is no cure. While FASD can’t be cured, it can be prevented by avoiding alcohol during pregnancy.
- Help is available. Visit our FASD Awareness webpage for more information and links to local and national resources.
- You can still celebrate. Watch the video below to learn how to make mocktails and enjoy an alcohol-free celebration!