Wednesday, September 9, 2009


It amazes me that not much is known about FAS/FASD in the mental health community or within the county school systems.  Something so preventable needs more attended. Think before you drink. 

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is the name given to a combination of mental and physical defects and disabilities first evident at a baby's birth and caused by the mother's consumption of alcohol. Formerly called FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) ARND (Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder) or FAE (Fetal Alcohol Effects), the new term brings into focus the full range of problems a mother's drinking can have on her unborn child from severe physical malformation to a wide array of disabilities evidenced by behaviors.

Research has consistently found that the brain is the organ in our bodies most sensitive to the effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol and other drugs. Alcohol kills cells, including those in the developing brain. The pattern of the mother's drinking overlaid on the baby's development determines where the defects or disabilities will occur.

FASD in the number one cause of birth defects in the USA and the only one that can be prevented.


Some facts about FASD

• Maternal alcohol use is the leading known cause of birth defects in the United States.
• In the USA, at least 55,000 with FASD are born each year. (Those are the ones that are diagnosed. No one knows how many are never diagnosed at all, leaving both parents and children to wonder what's wrong with them.)
• FASD affect more newborns every year than Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, spina bifida, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome combined.
• The institutional and medical costs for one individual with FASD are estimated to be $1.4 million over a lifetime.
• In the USA, it is estimated that each year from $75 million to $9.7 billion is spent to help those with FASD.
• Alcohol-related birth defects are 100% preventable if a pregnant woman does not drink alcohol.
• There is no known safe amount of alcohol that a pregnant woman can drink and not risk damaging her baby.
• At least one in five pregnant women drinks alcohol at some time during her pregnancy.
The probability of having a child with FASD increases with the amount and frequency of alcohol consumed.

• Wine, beer or liquor all contain alcohol and all can cause damage to a developing baby.
• Alcohol can damage the baby at any stage of its development
• Alcohol kills specific cells in the developing brain. The pattern of cell death and subsequent defects vary with the stage of development at the time of alcohol exposure.
• If enough brain cells are killed, the brain (and therefore the head) will actually be smaller.
• Children with FASD are often not able to understand cause and effect, long-term consequences, sequencing or adaptation.
• FASD is found in all races and socioeconomic groups.
• The disabilities of FASD stay with these children throughout their lives.
• Many children who have FASD, but do not have the diagnosis are identified as behavior problems, when they behavior is actually a display of their disability

You wouldn't put beer in your babies bottle, so why would you drink when pregnant?

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