An Alcohol-Free Pregnancy Prevents FASD

September 8th, 2014

FASD_09.08.14_Image 3Dan Dubovsky, M.S.W.
FASD Specialist
SAMHSA FASD Center for Excellence

On a daily basis we are bombarded with health messages to keep ourselves and our families healthy and safe. Physical, social, environmental, and spiritual factors are just a few categories on the spectrum of healthy living. Maintaining this balance while staying up to date on new and emerging information can be overwhelming, especially during pregnancy.

There are certain specific and essential health messages for pregnant women – take your prenatal vitamins; avoid caffeine, tobacco, and fish with high mercury levels; visit your doctor for regular prenatal check-ups. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Center for Excellence hopes that the following message will soon become just as clear: If you are pregnant or could be pregnant, don’t drink.

Today, September 9, 2014 marks the 15th anniversary of International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day. This date and time serves as a reminder to women not to drink during the 9 months of pregnancy. At 9:09am families, researchers, health care providers, and policymakers across the globe will take a moment to remember that FASD is 100% preventable.

FASD_09.08.14_Image 1Alcohol -exposed pregnancies are the leading cause of preventable birth defects and intellectual disabilities in the United States. FASD encompasses a range of behavioral, physical, and psychological effects that can occur any time a fetus is exposed to alcohol in the womb. Yet, women receive conflicting messages about alcohol use during pregnancy. Some messages say that an occasional glass of wine won’t harm the baby or consuming alcohol in the third trimester is okay, while others correctly suggest abstaining from any alcohol use throughout pregnancy.Pregnant Woman Holding Stomach

Research indicates that no amount of alcohol during pregnancy is guaranteed to be safe for everyone. The only sure way to prevent FASD is to completely avoid alcohol while trying to get pregnant, during pregnancy, or after having unprotected sex when it is possible to get pregnant.

Continued awareness and education around FASD is extremely important, and we encourage you to spread the word on this special day. For more information on FASD, visit the SAMHSA FASD Center for Excellence.