Maine Families

September is FASD Awareness Month

September 9th has been designated as International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day. And this year the American Academy of Pediatrics and a host of other organizations, including Maine’s Office of Substance Abuse, have joined together to promote awareness of FASDs all month long.

On this page you’ll find links and resource information about the risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy, including a handy fact sheet for sharing with someone you know who is pregnant or may be thinking of becoming pregnant.

“FASDs are caused by a woman drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol in the mother’s blood passes to the baby through the placenta and the umbilical cord. When a woman drinks alcohol so does her baby. There is no known safe amount or type of alcohol to drink during pregnancy. There is also no safe time to drink during pregnancy, including before a woman knows she is pregnant. FASDs can impact children’s physical, mental, behavioral, or cognitive development. The most recognized condition along the continuum of FASDs, fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), is characterized by growth deficiencies, central nervous system disabilities, and specific facial characteristics, and is the most preventable form of intellectual disability.” Re-posted from Maine’s Office of Substance Abuse

FACT SHEET

  • When a woman drinks alcohol, so does her baby.
  • There is no known safe amount of alcohol use during pregnancy.
  • There is no safe time during pregnancy to drink alcohol.
  • All types of alcohol are equally harmful, including all wine and beer.
  • When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, so does her baby.
  • Avoiding alcohol while pregnant will absolutely guarantee that a child will not have a condition along the continuum of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs).
  • An estimated 40,000 babies are born each year with FASDs, which can result in birth defects, intellectual or learning disabilities, behavior problems, and trouble learning life skills.
  • FASD-related difficulties last a lifetime.
  • About half of pregnancies in the S. are unplanned.
  • A woman may not realize she is pregnant up to 4 to 6 weeks in pregnancy and expose her baby to alcohol before she knows she is pregnant.
  • Women who are not trying to get pregnant but are having sex should talk with their health care provider about using contraception consistently.
  • Pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant should abstain from drinking alcohol.
  • Pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant should get help if they cannot stop drinking. Women are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider, local Alcoholics Anonymous, or local alcohol treatment center.
  • Pregnant women or women trying to get pregnant should talk with their obstetrician, pediatrician, nurses and other health care providers to understand the risks and to make the best choices for the health of their baby.

Click here for more information on alcohol use during pregnancy and FASDs.
Moms-to-be may also want to check out the March of Dimes for more info.