Today is FASD Awareness Day!
Today, The Arc of North Carolina and Proof Alliance NC announced that Governor Roy Cooper has signed a state proclamation recognizing September as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Month. In North Carolina, 56% of women drank alcohol before becoming pregnant and 14% continued drinking during pregnancy. This means an estimated 16,600 babies are born in NC with alcohol exposure each year. In North Carolina, 44% of all pregnancies are unplanned. Studies show that up to 1 in 20 US school children may have an FASD, a rate that is higher than autism.
“It’s important for the public to understand FASD and the dangers of drinking while pregnant,” said Lauren Borchert, Program Coordinator, Proof Alliance NC. “This is a developmental disorder that is 100% preventable.”
During pregnancy, a developing baby is exposed to the same concentration of alcohol as the pregnant woman. No amount of alcohol use is known to be safe for a developing baby before birth. Exposure to alcohol from any type of beverage, including beer and wine, is unsafe for developing babies at every stage of pregnancy.
The US Surgeon General advises pregnant women and women who are considering becoming pregnant to abstain from alcohol consumption to eliminate alcohol-exposed pregnancies. FASDs are completely preventable if a developing baby is not exposed to alcohol before birth.
To prevent FASD:
• If you can become pregnant, talk with your care provider about preventing an alcohol- exposed pregnancy.
• If you are a health care provider, take every opportunity to have conversations with patients about alcohol use before and during pregnancy.
Pregnant women who need help in stopping their drinking can talk to their doctor or midwife. They can also contact the Alcohol/Drug Council of North Carolina at 1-800-688-4232 for support.