Stopping Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders can prevent birth defects

Published: Feb. 13, 2016 at 4:31 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 13, 2016 at 4:48 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - One in 13 women report drinking during pregnancy, according to the CDC.

The Arc of Greater Columbus is reaching out to all healthcare providers to help decrease those numbers.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders is the single most common cause of intellectual disabilities. This is why the ARC is providing prevention strategies so women can have safer and healthier pregnancies.

Birth defects are on the rise due to drug abuse, but alcohol can also leave life-long problems for unborn babies.

"The ARC would like to make sure that unborn babies in our community have a fair chance to be born just as healthy as they can be," said Carolyn Edwards-Golden, President of the Arc of Greater Columbus.

The Arc of Greater Columbus is partnering with their national organization and several other ARC locations across the country to stop Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

During the seven-month prevention project, the non-profit is providing free informational tool kits to all medical professionals and organizations, and even churches for them to pass out.

"We want them to distribute this tool kits to their clients and patients to make them aware that drinking alcohol during pregnancy causes birth defects," said Edwards-Golden.

Edwards-Golden say doctors must know the risk and inform women of the severe consequences of drinking while pregnant.

"Save that alcohol for when the baby's born and then toast and then celebrate," said Golden.

As advocates, the Arc is all about helping those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The smallest amount of alcohol is not worth the risk.

"Will produce a child with a smaller head, smaller brain, low birth weight and specific facial features," said Edwards-Golden.

There is no cure for FASD, but the good news is that it's 100 percent preventable from the beginning.

More information from The National Arc:

Using the results of a needs assessment, determine the educational needs of health care providers, specifically family practitioners, internists, pediatricians, obstetrician/gynecologists, physician's assistants, midwives, nurse practitioners, registered/licensed practical nurses, mental health therapists, and substance use therapists.
·         Implement an educational plan for increasing provider knowledge of FASD prevention.
·         Partner with national professional associations to create appropriate educational materials for providers.
·         Disseminate materials through national organization's networks and other channels.
·         Assess the impact of education on provider knowledge and practice.
The Arc is committed to the prevention of FASD shown by our history of supporting research, outreach, and targeted advocacy efforts. Since the definition and recognition of FASD as a birth defect in 1973, and the realization that pregnant women who drink alcohol while pregnant can have children born with this disability, many of The Arc's chapters have contributed their resources, time and expertise to FASD prevention at state and local levels.

The free program will end in August, for any wanting a free toolkit, call 706-321-1603.

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