Women Reminded of Health Risks with Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy
Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Deputy Secretary Cheryl Dondero started off Pennsylvania’s annual Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder awareness event Monday at Butler Memorial Hospital, reminding Pennsylvanians of the dangers associated with alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
The event is held each September in observance of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Month.
“FASD is 100 percent preventable, yet an estimated 40,000 babies are born with FASD each year,” Dondero said. “This troubling and alarming number demonstrates the importance and need for continued education about the dangers of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.”
FASD is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in children exposed to alcohol during fetal development. Alcohol use during pregnancy can be devastating on the life of an unborn child, causing possible physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications.
Various studies have shown there is no safe level of drinking during pregnancy. Alcohol has more harmful, long-term effects to an unborn child than heroin or cocaine. Most individuals do not realize that even one binge-drinking episode can result in permanent damage to the fetus.
The event’s keynote speakers shared their personal FASD testimonies. Dianne O’Connor, a certified FASD trainer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shared her experience raising children with FASD. Jasmine Suarez-O’Connor, a founding and current staff member for the Arc Self Advocates with FASD in Action, shared her experience living with FASD.
For more information about FASD, visit http://www.fasdcenter.samhsa.gov.
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