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WHY DRINKING AND PREGNANCY DON’T MIX

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There have been many questions surrounding the risks of drinking during pregnancy. What amount of alcohol is safe for pregnant women? When is it safest for pregnant women to drink?  The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released new data on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. The report provides evidence that there is NO SAFE AMOUNT and NO SAFE TIME for pregnant women to drink. Why? There is no cure for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, but they are entirely preventable. Women should never drink during pregnancy or leading up to pregnancy to avoid the risks. According to the CDC, a woman could get pregnant and not know for 4-6 weeks.

 

WHAT IS FETAL ALCOHOL SPECTRUM DISORDER

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder or FASD, is a term used to describe the adverse impacts that drinking during pregnancy has on a baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics further explains the effects of FASD, “physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications.”

 

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

A variety of barriers may impact teens and children of mothers who drank during pregnancy. The following is a list of medical, behavioral, and cognitive difficulties that an individual impacted by FASD may experience throughout their lives.

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Trouble with specific topics such as math
  • Impaired impulse control
  • Weak memory skills
  • Struggle with problem-solving
  • Difficulty with abstract reasoning
  • Trouble with auditory comprehension
  • Struggle with natural language use
  • Slow at processing information
  • 95% lifetime likelihood to experience mental health issues, such as anxiety, mood disorders, depression, substance abuse, addiction, and suicide
  • More likely to have school disruptions
  • Greater likelihood to have trouble with the law
  • Under or unemployment
  • Difficulty with age appropriate socialization and communication

 

The individual difficulties that a person may experience translate into enormous economic effects. The American Academy of Pediatrics states the following statistics in the report.

  • “The calculated expense of raising a child with FASD is 30 times the cost of preventing FASD.”
  • “In 2005, the annual Medicaid cost to care for a child with FASD was 9 times that of a child without FASD.”

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder impacts a child’s ability to succeed throughout life. The financial costs of FASD affect individuals, families, and society. The solution is simple. More women and those who care about children need to be informed about the consequences of drinking during pregnancy.

 

WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT

We all need to act. We all need to spread the word and support one another. It may be difficult for some women to avoid alcohol during pregnancy. Providers, caregivers, and other professionals need to inform women about resources available to help them have a healthy pregnancy. Families and friends of pregnant women need to support women to be alcohol-free. We can all spread the word. Let’s help more women avoid the risks!

Not sure where to turn for help? Dial 2-1-1 to reach the Help Me Grow hotline. It is a service that refers families and individuals to valuable resources near them! A Help Me Grow expert will help you identify the services you need and where to get them! Problems with substance abuse? Need family support? Dial 2-1-1 for Help Me Grow!