Many woman who are well informed and have extensive life experience still don’t know that drinking alcohol in pregnancy may harm their children. Unborn children exposed to alcohol may be born with lifelong mental or physical disabilities known as Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Many women are not given this information by their doctors because they do not always have consistent information. It was only 2007 when the Department of Health changed their Guidelines: “Avoid alcohol in pregnancy or if you are trying to conceive”.
It is assumed that children with FASD are only born to alcoholic mothers. This is not necessarily true. The risks are greater if a child is exposed to alcohol throughout pregnancy, but some children can be affected by just one binge or a few episodes of social drinking. We know women with three children, two are healthy and the one child they were pregnant with over Christmas and New Years, when they drank socially, has FASD.
It is also true that all alcoholic women do not have children with FASD. Genetic and other factors play a part in the outcome.
What is FASD?
FASD is brain damage that can occur when the brain and nervous system are exposed to alcohol any time during the nine months of pregnancy. Heavy drinking can cause miscarriage and pre-mature birth. During the first trimester the facial features may be affected, the heart, the lungs and other organs may not develop properly. In the third trimester, when the brain and nervous system are in final development, it is believed that hyper-activity disorders, attention deficits, memory and learning are most profoundly affected. Children with FASD may not begin to miss milestones and exhibit delayed development until ages 3-7.
There is no way to predict who will be affected. Zero alcohol in pregnancy is the only way to be 100% certain a child will not be born with FASD Disabilities.
When I adopted my daughter she was a bright lively little toddler. I knew her birth mother drank during pregnancy but had no idea that it would affect the rest of my daughter’s life. I watch my daughter struggle every day.
But her disability doesn’t diminish my love for her. She has a wonderful personality. I am crazy about her and think that, maybe, I love her a little bit more because she is vulnerable.
Posted by Susan Fleisher on 18/08/2009 23:15:52
Networking Skill Tip
I was told of a wonderful solution recently to a common networking problem.
It’s one of the most frequent sights at a networking event. People from the same company spending the evening speaking with their work colleagues, before walking out together and telling each other “that was a waste of time”!
One business owner has come up with a different approach to the issue. If his staff attend an event together and don’t make the effort to meet new people, they have to pay for the events themselves. After all, he reasons, he doesn’t need to pay for a social night out for them.
Before you, or your staff, go to an event remind yourselves of the reasons for going and set challenges that keep you on track. If you are attending to build your network, make sure you meet new people…..or set a forfeit if you stay in your comfort zone.
Posted by Andy Lopata – Connecting is not Enough on 17/03/2009 16:43:33