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National Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day

9/13/2012 8:00:00 AM

Did you know that approximately one out of every 100 babies is affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)? Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are a group of conditions that can occur when a child's mother drank while pregnant. Effects can include physical challenges and problems with behavior and learning or in most cases all three. In rare and extreme cases FASD may cause death.

In many cases women many not know for several weeks if they are pregnant and in the United States half of all pregnancy are unplanned. To protect your unborn child from FASD, do not consume any amount of alcohol at any time during your pregnancy.

FASD is not just a children's disorder as it lasts a lifetime. There is no cure for FASDs, but research shows that early intervention treatment services can improve a child's development. However, diagnosing FASD can be difficult because there is no medical test, like a blood test, to determine whether someone has FASD or not. And other disorders, such as ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) and Williams syndrome, have some symptoms that are similar to FASD.

Given that this disorder is completely, 100% preventable, more needs to be done in the realm of awareness and education if the number of babies affected is to ever decrease. To that end, every year on September 9, International FASD day is observed. This year we ask that you join in. September 9 was chosen so that on the ninth day of the ninth month of the year, the world would remember that during the nine months of pregnancy a woman should abstain from alcohol. So remember those affected by FASD, whether you ring bells at 9:09 a.m. as some do, or pass this blog on to your friends, you will have taken an additional step in helping prevent FASD.

If you think your child might have FASD, talk to your child's doctor and share your concerns. Please don't wait!

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