- Fetal alcohol syndrome refers to the various neurological and
physical complications in the fetus associated with maternal alcohol
- Fetal alcohol syndrome is the most important cause of preventable
mental handicap in children in the Western world.
- Fetal alcohol syndrome day is observed on the 9th
September annually aims to raise awareness about the dangers to the fetus
if the mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy.
Importance of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness Day - Urgent
Need of The Hour
in this modern age, social drinking has come to be a widely accepted social practice
cutting across age and gender barriers. Unfortunately, not many are aware of the dangers of consuming alcohol during pregnancy
the untold risks to the fetus.
Did you know that there is no safe amount
of alcohol that can be consumed during pregnancy. Even the smallest amount of alcohol could potentially cause serious
harm to the baby
. Sadly, fetal alcohol syndrome remains the single largest
reason for occurrence of preventable mental handicap in children in the
developed countries where alcohol consumption is quite heavy.
Studies indicate that nearly 1 in 20 school children in the US may come under the fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)
, a rate similar to that of autism.
It is essential that everyone in the
community, irrespective of age or sex is made aware of
the dangers of alcohol during pregnancy and behave responsibly to avert any
Birth of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness day - 9:09 AM 9th
Buxton and her husband Brian Philcox and their friend Teresa Kellerman were parents
of children diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome. They spent their daily lives
with children whose prenatal exposure to alcohol led to learning
disabilities, behavioral issues and even physical defects needing constant
At the time, in the 1990s,
there was hardly any awareness of FASD either among public,
or even health professionals. They were forced to seek help for their problems
on the online support group, Faslink.
was Buxton who thought about starting an international FAS Awareness Day to
help such families and decided upon the date as 9th
it also symbolically commemorates the nine months of
the first FAS awareness day was born in New Zealand on the 9th
September 1999 at 09:09 AM
then the FAS Awareness Day has become an international movement spread across
several countries and is observed worldwide on the 9th
aiming to create awareness and educate the community about the ill effects of
alcohol in general, during pregnancy in particular.
Raising Awareness About
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
There are several ways in which the
awareness can be spread to reach as many persons as possible. Some of these (by
no means exhaustive) include the following:
- Use of social media such as Facebook
and Twitter to post messages about the dangers of alcohol and persons can
share their stories using the hashtag #FASDMonth and #FASDay.
- Events can be organized in the
community at the local school, park, church or even market place. Pamphlets
may be distributed, street plays may be held or inspiring talks may be
given to educate the people.
- Support groups and volunteers can
create postcards with catchy messages and distribute them to local shops
and businesses to spread the word.
- The local administration could also
be involved to add weight to the campaign and the local representative
could be invited to address the community about the condition.
write-ups and messages about the condition may be brought out in the print
- Women's clinics and local general
practitioners could carry prominent messages in their practices about
dangers of alcohol during pregnancy.
- In general the rampant use of
alcohol, especially in the young should be discouraged and they should be
educated and counseled appropriately.
- Strict legislations should be in
place to discourage and prevent under-age and teen
drinking. Psychological help and counseling must
be offered to such kids.
- Walkathons or picnics may be
organized in the community to create awareness about
- fetal alcohol syndrome and raise
funds for organizations working to promote fetal alcohol syndrome
How Alcohol Affects the
Fetus and Tips To Prevent FAS Occurrence
Alcohol intake during
can affect the baby's physical, mental, behavioral, and
- The most evident condition of fetal
alcohol spectrum disorders, namely fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), is
characterized by visual and hearing
defects, heart and kidney abnormalities, limb defects specific facial
characteristics and impaired nervous system development including learning disabilities and behavioral
- Prenatal exposure to alcohol is
associated with an increased risk of
miscarriage, prematurity, stillbirth and sudden
infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- No amount of alcohol can be
considered safe. All alcoholic
beverages are bad including beer and wine.
period in pregnancy is considered safe to consume alcohol. In fact women in the reproductive age, would
do well to stay away from alcohol as more than half the pregnancies
are unplanned and unknowingly exposing the fetus to alcohol before the
woman realizes she is pregnant is a definite and scary possibility.
- Women with a drinking problem should seek help before deciding to start a
family. Husbands and partners can be supportive of their wives and
girlfriends by staying away from alcohol as well during the pregnancy.
In conclusion, every day should be
considered fetal alcohol syndrome awareness day, particularly in women planning
to start a family. The sooner one stops drinking, the better the chances of a
healthy baby. After all, you cannot afford to take chances with your baby. References:
- Fasd Awareness Month/Day 2017 Packet - (https:www.nofas.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/2017-FASD-Awareness-Month-Packet-FINAL.pdf)