Each May, NCADD and its National Network of Affiliates play a vital role across the United States in educating people, especially women, about the dangers of consuming alcohol and using drugs during pregnancy. Alcohol, Drugs and Childbirth do not go together. Yet, in the U.S., 20% (about 1 million) of pregnant women smoke cigarettes; another 18% (about 750,000) drink alcohol during pregnancy; and another 6% (225,000) use an illicit drug at least once while carrying a child to term.
Starting each year on Mother’s Day, Alcohol- and Other Drug-Related Birth Defects Awareness Week is a reminder that alcohol and drug use during pregnancy can be detrimental to a mother and her child. Prenatal alcohol and drug use can result in a spectrum of adverse conditions. One of the most severe outcomes being fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), which is the constellation of developmental defects that result from maternal abuse of alcohol during pregnancy, including infant facial malformations, growth deficits, and central nervous system problems that can persist throughout a child’s life.
Approximately one in every 100 children born nation-wide is adversely affected by prenatal alcohol and drug exposure, including children with the full fetal alcohol syndrome, as well as children who may not have all of the external features of the syndrome, but whose brains have been injured.
NCADD believes children deserve better. An educated mother and her spouse and/or sexual partner can prevent the fate such newborns face. NCADD knows these tragic births can be prevented if people understood the realities behind alcohol and drug use during pregnancy.
So, please join NCADD and our National Network of Affiliates to get the message out. Together we can prevent birth defects.
To learn more about alcohol, drugs and pregnancy, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.