International Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Day, 9 September 2015.
Each year, at nine minutes past nine on the ninth day of the ninth month, FASD Day is commemorated. The number 9 is emphasised to indicate how important it is that women should not drink alcohol for the full nine months of their pregnancy. The team from Mkhondo Alathia Rehabilitation Centre took this opportunity to commemorate the FASD Day at Kempville Clinic and Piet Retief Hospital by raising awareness on this very important issue.
The team consisted of their Professional Nurse and Social Workers and the message focused on the fact that FASD is 100% preventable. It so happens that when a woman drinks alcohol during pregnancy, the alcohol crosses to the placenta through the mother’s bloodstream, delivering the alcohol directly to the developing fetus. (Surely, far too young an age for consuming alcohol.) Hence the saying that a “pregnant women never drinks alone”. The alcohol affects the development of the baby’s brain, organs and tissues which can result in:
- Small head size
- Growth retardation before and after birth • Intellectual disability
- Specific facial features such as a long, smooth upper lip, small openings of the eye (called palpebral fissures).
- Organ anomalies e.g. heart, kidney or liver defects
- A variety of learning, behavioural and psychological problems without any physical abnormalities. Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders therefore include a broad spectrum of signs and symptoms that can occur in children whose mothers used alcohol during pregnancy. FAS (Foetal Alcohol Syndrome) is the most severe of the Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. It is essential for women to take note of and remember that:
- No amount of alcohol can safely be taken while you are pregnant
- Do not drink if you are considering falling pregnant
- If you find out that you are pregnant, stop drinking alcohol immediately. If you have trouble doing so, seek professional help
- FASD cannot be cured
- FASD is 100% preventable Come on ladies, think of the future of your children and be responsible.
Thank you MARC for informing the Mkhondo ladies as well.