Pennsylvania Department of Health Reminds Women of Health Risks of Consuming Alcohol During Pregnancy

September 7, 2010

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Week is Sept. 7-12

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — To kick off Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Week, the Pennsylvania Department of Health is reminding the public that alcohol consumption by pregnant women can seriously harm unborn children.

“We want to give our children the best start possible, and that start begins in the womb,” Deputy Secretary for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Janice Kopelman said during an event at the Southern Bucks Recovery Community Center. “While some women may consume alcohol before they even realize they are pregnant, we want to remind any woman of child-bearing age to monitor alcohol use and to stop drinking if she is trying to conceive.”

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, or FASD, is a term which describes the range of effects that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. FASD can include serious and permanent physical, mental and behavioral effects and/or learning disabilities such as poor coordination and delayed speech development.

An estimated one in 100 babies is born with FASD, or about 40,000 annually.

“The effects of FASD-caused disorders can be extensive for a child and the family,” Kopelman added. “FASD is fully preventable if women do not drink while pregnant, and risks are much lower if a woman stops drinking as soon as she learns she is expecting. This is why it is so important for us to continue educating Pennsylvanians about the harms of FASD. It can mean a difference in an unborn child’s future.”

For more information about FASD, visit www.health.state.pa.us or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.

Media contact: Holli Senior, 717-787-1783

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health

Source: newswire

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