September is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Month

Published:
September 21, 2023

September is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Month

Darla J. Kelsay, Certified Prevention Consultant, Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator, UA Little Rock, MidSOUTH

Raising awareness of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is the mission of Arkansas None for Nine, a non-profit organization that actively inspires, empowers, and supports children, families, and individuals that live with FASD in Arkansas.

An affiliate of FASD United, the national voice on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, Arkansas None for Nine recently partnered with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock/MidSOUTH to educate communities about FASD. The organization brought in a multitude of speakers with expertise in the field of FASD and those with lived experience to share their knowledge during the university’s state-wide substance misuse prevention two-day summit.

“Even today many people are unaware of the dangers alcohol has on the developing fetus during pregnancy,” said Arkansas None for Nine President Carol Rangel. “Our goal is to provide communities with this invaluable information and encourage them to share it with all the women in their lives. We need to get the message out to reduce the number of FASD births.”

Dr. Kenneth Lyons Jones, a world-renowned pediatrician, dysmorphologist, and researcher in the field of birth defects spoke to summit participants through a video in which he talked about the history of FASD and the challenges facing those working to create cultural change. Considered the Father of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Jones and Dr. David W. Smith at the University of Washington was the first to identify FAS and to name the disorder in the United States 50 years ago. FAS is a permanent condition that happens when a woman consumes any amount of alcohol during pregnancy and is the most severe condition within a group of conditions known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs).

Basic facts about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder:

 

  • Alcohol use during pregnancy can cause birth defects and developmental disabilities.
  • It can also cause other pregnancy problems, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, and prematurity.
  • There is no guaranteed safe level of alcohol use at any time during pregnancy or when trying to get pregnant.
  • Alcohol can cause problems for a developing baby throughout pregnancy, including before a woman knows she is pregnant.
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are preventable if a woman doesn't drink during pregnancy.

To help raise funds and awareness about FASD in the Natural State, Arkansas None for Nine will host a nine-hole golf tournament in September, the month set aside for FASD awareness. FASD Awareness Month is an expansion of International FASD Awareness Day that has been held each year on September 9th since 1999. The day was chosen so that on the ninth day of the ninth month of the year, the world will remember that during the nine months of pregnancy, the safest option is to abstain from alcohol. In 2016, FASD Day was expanded to make September FASD Awareness Month (source CDC).

Communities and prevention partners can get people talking about FASD by downloading the FASD Awareness Month 2023 tool kit at https://fasdunited.org/fasd-awareness-month-2023/.

For more information about Arkansas None for Nine log on to their website at https://arkansasnonefornine.org/. Arkansas also has a Specialty Diagnostic Resource Center for FASD. Learn more about the center at https://www.arksdrc.org/.

   


                                

Sources:

https://arkansasnonefornine.org/

https://fasdunited.org/fasd-awareness-month-2023/  

https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/partners.html

pregnant mom lying on couch holding a sonogram photo of fetus
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