NOFAS Facts of the Day for FASD Month, Sept. 2017

In recognition of September as FASD Awareness Month, NOFAS posted an FASD-related fact on social media each day in September,. Facts covered various facets of FASD, including pediatrics, prevention, addiction, adults with FASD, education, and public health. Some facts were targeted towards specific health-care professionals, including nurses, social workers, medical assistants, ObGyns, pediatricians, and family medicine doctors.

Here is the full list of these facts of the day, in the order they were posted:

  1. Prenatal alcohol exposure is the leading preventable cause of birth defects, developmental disorders, and intellectual disabilities.
  2. A study funded by NIAAA to determine the prevalence of FASDs among 1st graders from a midwestern community found that 2-5% have a FASD.
  3. Social workers connect people with FASD and their families to services and support.
  4. Through alcohol screening and brief intervention, family physicians can lead FASD prevention efforts for their communities.
  5. Medical assistants can advise a woman who drinks and is pregnant to abstain from alcohol in order to prevent FASDs.
  6. The prevailing consensus among OB-GYN providers is that no amount of alcohol use is safe during pregnancy.
  7. In many of those affected, FASD is a hidden disability, it can feel like the world does not understand their behaviors.
  8. A diagnosis of one of the FASDs can help explain why a child learns, develops and behaves the way he or she does.
  9. Stigma can shape how providers approach, communicate, interact with women who drink, individuals affected by FASD. Give support, not shame.
  10. Alcohol is a known teratogen. Drinking alcohol and at risk of pregnancy? Talk to your doctor about contraceptive options.
  11. Ob-gyns are the frontline provider in the prevention of alcohol-exposed pregnancies.
  12. Teens and young adults with FASD frequently suffer anxiety and depression as a result of their struggle to be understood.
  13. Stigma can prevent concerned parents from discussing their alcohol use during pregnancy.
  14. Alcohol exposure is unsafe for developing babies at every stage of pregnancy, especially for brain development.
  15. FASDs are disproportionately present among youth in child welfare & juvenile justice systems, where social workers can advocate & intervene.
  16. Drinking alcohol and at risk of pregnancy? Talk to your Family Doctor about contraceptive options.
  17. A 5-ounce glass of red or white wine has the same amount of alcohol as a 12-ounce can of beer or a 1.5-ounce shot of straight liquor.
  18. A pregnant woman who has already consumed alcohol during her pregnancy should stop to minimize further risk.
  19. There is no safe amount, no safe type, and no safe time. FASD is 100% preventable.
  20. Individuals with FASD have better medical, psychological and job outcomes with intervention and treatment that begins as early as possible.
  21. Compared to the use of cocaine or marijuana, alcohol produces by far the most serious effects on the brain of the developing baby.
  22. It is important when caring for women of reproductive age to assess their alcohol consumption – key time to prevent FASD.
  23. Children with FASDs can have lifelong physical, mental, behavioral and/or learning problems.
  24. FASD can be an “invisible disability” that is missed or misdiagnosed– social workers can identify, assess, refer to medical specialists.
  25. FASD is as common as autism yet 100% preventable with zero alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
  26. Doctors should ask about alcohol use at EVERY visit – Screening for alcohol misuse can be as common as taking a blood pressure.
  27. Ob-gyn providers can adopt proactive practices in reducing stigma as well as alcohol-exposed pregnancies.
  28. Children born exposed to alcohol of any kind risk a lifetime of developmental and/or intellectual challenges.
  29. Not all children with FASD are alike – the spectrum is huge – making identification and support of these individuals difficult.
  30. Young adults born exposed to alcohol can have a propensity toward addiction, creating a cycle of alcohol abuse and FASD.