Why Pregnancy and Alcohol Do not Mix

Nine months of an alcohol-free pregnancy is often a tough task for pregnant women, especially those used to drinking regularly.  But that is the advice by a number of respected national organizations and the Double ARC Center for FASD at A Renewed Mind.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Surgeon General, “There is no known same amount of alcohol to drink while pregnant. There is no safe time during pregnancy or safe type of alcohol.”

Each year on September 9th, the National Organization on FAS and others worldwide join together to proclaim in the ninth month on the ninth day that the best way to prevent Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is to avoid alcohol when anticipating getting pregnant and while pregnant.

Alcohol is more damaging to the developing fetus than either cocaine or heroin combined.  That’s because the alcohol passes easily through the placenta and is long lasting in the fetus.  The alcohol can cause damage to various areas of the brain which regulate memory, organization, learning and behavior.

In February 2018, in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association the researchers said as many as 1 in 20 school children may be affected by prenatal alcohol exposure. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics say that “prenatal alcohol exposure is one of the leading preventable causes of birth defects, mental retardation and neurodevelopmental disorders.”

Prevention is key but what about the child who has already been affected by prenatal alcohol exposure?  Early intervention is very important.  The child should be seen by a pediatrician with knowledge of FASD.  Often a child gets diagnosed with ADHD and other disorders yet the root cause is the prenatal alcohol exposure.  Fortunately, Northwest Ohio has a full medical professional team of physicians, neuropsychologists, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists who assess the child, review existing medical and school records and make a diagnosis.  Diagnosis is important to the child’s ability to get an Individual Education Program at school with accommodations for cognitive and behavioral deficits and for the ability to apply for other government funded resources.  Plus, parents will receive the support and education they need to parent a child with lifelong deficits.

The Double ARC Center for FASD at A Renewed Mind would be glad to talk with any parent or caregiver who thinks their child may have been prenatally exposed to alcohol.  www.doublearc.org.

Janet Bosserman
Vice President
A Renewed Mind
Double ARC Center for FASD