Yesterday (9th September) was National FASD day. FASD stands for Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder which is a range of conditions caused only by mothers drinking alcohol during pregnancy. It affects learning and behavioural development and with over 1% of babies being affected in the UK every year, FASD is the most prevalent form of lifelong learning difficulty.
No quantity of alcohol has ever been proven to be safe to consume during pregnancy and no period of pregnancy has been shown to be immune to the effects of alcohol on the unborn child. What is very clear is that there are no benefits for the unborn child from exposure to alcohol, just risks, and these risks increase in line with how much alcohol an expectant mother drinks.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy carries a risk of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and conditions on the Foetal Alcohol Spectrum of Disorders (FASD). Children born with FAS – the most rare, but most easily recognisable condition on the spectrum – have been exposed to high levels of alcohol during pregnancy and can experience problems with their growth, facial defects, as well as life-long learning and behavioural problems. Drinking heavily during pregnancy can also increase the chances of complications during pregnancy and childbirth, as well as increasing the risk of premature delivery, miscarriage and stillbirth.
FASD refers to the wide range of less obvious – and much more common – effects of drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Although children with FASD can look healthy and normal, they can have issues such as sight and hearing difficulties; problems paying attention and following simple directions, as well as other learning difficulties.
Find out more here