Be aware

Dear Mr. Editor:
We are writing this letter to bring awareness about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
FASD is an umbrella term that describes a range of disabilities that occur as a result of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Consumption of alcohol is one of the most dangerous and harmful things a mother can do to her unborn child.
If you’re having a drink, baby is, too.
Every year on Sept. 9, International FASD Awareness Day is observed. People all around the world gather at events to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy, as well as the plight of individuals and families who struggle with FASD.
For the unborn child, the alcohol interferes with their ability to get enough oxygen and nourishment for normal cell development in the brain and other body organs.
Research has shown that a developing fetus has very little tolerance for alcohol and infants born to mothers who drink during pregnancy can have serious problems.
Some of the potential problems their newborn could face as a result of drinking while pregnant are small body size and weight, facial abnormalities, organ deformities, heart, kidney, and urinary defects, poor body, hand, and finger co-ordination, and small brain.
Others include a short attention span, central nervous system handicaps (such as developmental delays, and speech or language delay), lower IQ and decreased head circumference, and genital malformations.
If a woman drinks while pregnant, she also could have a spontaneous abortion. Or, in the worst cases, pre-natal exposure to alcohol may result in fetal death.
There is no known safe amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Women who are pregnant, or are planning to become pregnant, should not drink any kind of alcohol.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is 100 percent preventable. Please take a moment of reflection on Sept. 9 at 9:09 a.m.
This day was chosen so that on the ninth month of the year, the world will remember that during the nine months of pregnancy, a woman should abstain from alcohol.
Remember, alcohol and pregnancy doesn’t mix.
(Signed),
Brenda McPherson
and Jocelynn Rancourt,
Aboriginal FAS/FAE &
Child Nutrition Program,
Gizhewaadiziwin
Health Access Centre