Saturday, September 1, 2012

FASD Awareness Day: T-minus 8 days

September 9th, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day is almost here, so I want to take the next 8 days to give you some startling facts about Fetal Alcohol.  My hope is to promote awareness and education which will enable change.  And change begins with me sharing with my family, with my friends, with my city, with my state, with my country and with the world. So here I go, sharing with YOU.  Please join my conversation...tell me what surprises you, what angers you, what frightens you about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

You can start by reading one of my archived posts which fills in the details as to why I started this blog last year.

Now on to the real purpose of this post:

According to the CDC 1 in 100 live births are affected by FASD in the US.  FASD is the leading cause of cognitive disability in Western Civilization...yet it is 100% preventable!

What this means is that you are surrounded by more children than you realize who are affected by FASD.  More babies are born with FAS, than with HIV or Autism or Downs Syndrome. 

Consider this interesting reality: children who are with biological families are diagnosed with ADHD, while children placed in foster or adoptive homes are diagnosed with FASD.  Our desire is not to criticize past mistakes, but to educate those we come in contact with to the fact that FASD is very prevalent right here in our own communities. In your neighborhood.  In your school district. In your state.

What grieves my heart the most? The fact that Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is absolutely, positively 100% preventable. 

As a mother who lives the rollercoaster of raising a child with FASD, here is my plea: If a woman is of childbearing years she should avoid alcohol during the time she is ovulating and fertile for pregnancy.

It's that simple. Really.

I know there are those who argue that "it's a woman's body and she has the right to do what she wants...and no one has the right to tell her not to drink."   Just for a moment, think about this...those same women avoid tuna and sushi because there might just possibly be a trace of mercury.  Or they willingly avoid caffeine.  Hmmmm.  Possibly a trace of mercury, so sushi is skipped?  Yet 100% positive for alcohol and "it's my body"?  I just don't get the validity of that argument.

Here's the deal with alcohol: it goes directly from the mama's lips, into her bloodstream and on into the amniotic sac where the developing baby's body is basically soaking in alcohol. 

Here's what the NCBI  says about it:
"Because the brain is constantly developing throughout gestation, the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on the developing brain can occur at any point. Therefore, exposure at different times and with different doses during gestation may explain why FASD presents as a spectrum of central nervous system dysfunction. In addition, individual differences in the mother and child modify the effect of prenatal exposure in the individual, and not every child exposed is affected (Streissguth, 1997)."

So for the life long sake of your unborn child...just say no for 9 months. 0 drinks for 9 months.  It's really not asking for much.   Trust me on this one...the 9 months of no alcohol will be nothing compared to the frustrations that you will be avoiding for the rest of the child's life!!

Come back for more information tomorrow....

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