Published on September 6, 2012 at 7:37 AM
The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs is reminding the public that alcohol consumption by pregnant women can seriously harm unborn children. September is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Month by proclamation of Governor Tom Corbett.
FASD is an umbrella term for the range of effects that can occur in the children of women who drink alcohol during pregnancy. These effects may include physical, mental, behavioral and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications. An estimated one in 100 babies is born with FASD, or about 40,000 annually.
"As many as one in eight pregnant women drink alcohol, putting their child at risk of permanent learning disabilities, poor coordination or delayed speech," said Secretary Gary Tennis. "Because the stakes are so high, it's critical that women who are pregnant – or might become pregnant – stop drinking."
Various studies show that there is no safe level of drinking during pregnancy. Even one binge-drinking episode can result in permanent damage to the fetus. Alcohol can produce more harmful, long-term effects to an unborn child than many other abused substances.
"The effects of FASD can be extensive for a child and the family," said Tennis. "FASD is entirely preventable if a woman doesn't drink while pregnant, and the risks are much lower if she stops drinking as soon as she learns she is expecting. It can make a difference in an unborn child's future."
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs