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Alcohol & Drug-Related Birth Defects Awareness Week (May 8-14)
This May, Community Health Charities joins the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) and their national network of affiliates in educating people, especially women, about the dangers of consuming alcohol and using drugs during pregnancy (http://www.ncadd.org/index.php/programs-a-services/alcoholdrugs-related-birth-defects-awareness). Newborns can come into the world with severe birth defects. The reality is harsh and sad. NCADD believes children deserve better!
An educated mother and her spouse and/or sexual partner can prevent the fate many newborns face. NCADD knows these tragic births can be prevented if people understood the truth.
Some startling facts:
- In the United States, 20 percent (about 1 million) of pregnant women smoke cigarettes; another 18 percent (about 750,000) women drink alcohol during pregnancy; another 6 percent (225,000) women use an illicit drug at least once while carrying a child to term.
- Fetal alcohol syndrome disorders (FASD), the leading known cause of developmental disabilities in newborns (historically known as mental retardation) stems from maternal alcoholism or heavy drinking during pregnancy. Features of FASD include growth deficiency before and after birth, developmental delays, intellectual challenges, behavioral problems and changes in facial features, such as a flattened midface, small jaw and/or a thin upper lip.
- Perinatal cocaine exposure can result in obstetrical complications such as low birth weight, smaller head circumference, abnormal neonatal behavior and cerebral infarction at birth. Children with this exposure are easily distracted, passive and face a variety of visual and perceptual problems and difficulties with fine motor skills.
NCADD offers numerous programs and services to help educate those who become pregnant or who are planning to become pregnant.
Alcohol and Pregnancy - Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) (http://ncadd.org/index.php/learn-about-alcohol/fetal-alcohol-effects)
Spotlight: Raising Community Awareness on Drinking During Pregnancy (http://ncadd.org/index.php/affiliate-network/affiliate-spotlight/330-ncadd-rochester-raising-community-awareness-on-drinking-during-pregnancy)
Local Resources--provides information about how to find help near you, including NCADD’s National Network of Affiliates. (http://ncadd.org/index.php/get-help/local-resources)
March of Dimes Foundation, another member charity of Community Health Charities, also provides information on birth defects related to alcohol and drug use:
Alcohol and Smoking During Pregnancy - http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/alcohol_smoking.html
Illicit Drug Use During Pregnancy - http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/alcohol_illicitdrug.html
Source: National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) and March of Dimes Foundation
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