On September 9th International FAS Awareness Day was held. What is FAS (Foetal Alcohol Spectrum/Syndrome Disorders) day and why is it an important day?
It is an important day to remind women everywhere, that the safest choice during pregnancy is not to drink any alcohol at all. That’s why the Sexual Health Unit was out promoting awareness in each community of the NPA the week of the 10th of September. In each community the team gave hand-outs and spoke directly to community members about this subject.
Foetal alcohol syndrome and Foetal Acohol Spectrum Disorders are the general terms which describe the range of effects that can occur in pregnancy to the growing foetus if the mother is drinking acohol. It is important to note that this is a widespread problem and does not just affect Aboroiginal and Torres Strait Islander people. What happens is that while a woman drunk during pregnancy the alcohol passes through the placenta into the baby’s blood stream. This may cause many problems for the child. This is why no alcohol during pregnancy is the safest choice. Evidence shows that the risk of harm to an unborn baby is greater the more alcohol the mother consumes and that binge drinking causes the greatest risk to the childs life.
Everyone wants to have a healthy baby. The message NPAFACS is trying to get across to communities is that if a woman is pregnant or planning a pregnancy please think before consuming alcohol for it can affect your child for the rest of its life. Fathers also play an important role. A supportive partner is necessary for a healthy baby, so both partners should be as consciousness as can damage as possible. Alcohol and drugs can damage mature sperm and cause fertility problems. If you think that you are unable to stop drinking while you are pregnant, it is important to discuss this with your doctor, midwife or health worker.
There is help available.