LEXINGTON, Ky. (9/9/2013) – Monday, September 9th is FASD Awareness Day. According to the Center for Disease Control Website, FASD, or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. FASDs are 100 percent preventable if a woman does not consume alcohol during pregnancy.
Laura Nagle is the FASD Prevention Enhancement Site Coordinator for Kentucky, and is leading the efforts in raising awareness of the negative effects of consuming alcohol while pregnant. She explained that FASD Awareness Day has been going on for about 15 years.
“It's an international day for people to bring attention to the fact that there is no safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy. No safe type, no safe time, no safe amount,” said Nagle.
This year in Kentucky, Nagle said, 114 volunteers will be contacting the principals in every school in Kentucky to give information about FASD and ask them to pass it on to their staff. Nagle added that the initiative is meant to deliver information to any woman who can get pregnant, no matter what age.
“If we focus on just pregnant women, we miss the prevention part of it because alcohol can hurt an unborn baby even before Mom knows she is pregnant,” said Nagle. “We really try to get this information out to women before they get pregnant.”
Nagle added she also gives a presentation called 'Baby Love' to high school teachers to do with high school students, boys and girls, in order to reach more people.
She said there are a lot of misconceptions circulating that give women the impression that drinking while pregnant is not risky.
“Alcohol affects whatever is developing when alcohol is there,” said Nagle. “If alcohol is present when the heart is developing, it could cause a defect in the structure of the heart. Alcohol can affect absolutely anything. The reason why we always talk about the brain is because the brain develops every second of pregnancy. So, anytime alcohol is present, the brain is vulnerable.”
Nagle stresses that there is no way to gauge the degree to which alcohol can affect a developing baby, or if it will at all. But, she added that the risks are too high s to attempt to consume alcohol while pregnant.
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