There's no catchy acronym for the effort to increase awareness about the dangers of drinking alcohol while pregnant.
In addition to declarations at the national level and by the Warren County Commissioners that September is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Month, a local non-profit organization will hold two awareness-raising events in Warren and Forest counties.
"This month is dedicated to educating the community about the dangers associated with the use of alcohol while pregnant," Chris Snyder, supervisor of prevention services for Beacon Light Behavioral Health Systems, said. "Alcohol can affect every part of the developing baby. It can affect how the brain develops or kill developing cells in the fetus causing areas of the baby to develop abnormally."
That drink could harm your baby child
The physical, mental, behavioral and learning problems associated with FASD can create lifelong limitations.
"Drinking alcohol while pregnant can cause mental retardation, learning disabilities, attention deficits, and problems with impulse control, language, memory and social skills," Snyder said.
FASD is not a clinical diagnosis, Snyder said. Instead, it refers to birth defects and other problems that are associated with pregnant drinking. Many of the symptoms can arise from other problems and women are often reluctant to admit that they drank during pregnancy. Some women consume alcohol before they are even aware they are pregnant.
"It is important to remember that there is no safe amount of alcohol to drink when pregnant," Snyder said. "Even the smallest amounts can have an effect on the developing baby."
Of the estimated 130,000 women each year who drink while pregnant, about 40,000 give birth to a child with an alcohol-related issue.
Beacon Light will hold two awareness-raising events. "The Prevention Program will be sponsoring FASD Walks for Awareness," Snyder said.
Registration for the first begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept, 22 at Tionesta Beach.
The second will be held Sunday, Oct. 7, at Betts Park with registration opening at 1 p.m.
"There is no cost to participate in these events and we are not asking participants to raise money," Snyder said. "These events are to help raise awareness to the issue of FASD. Along the route there will be nine informational stops about FASD."
Snyder can be reached for questions about the walks or for more information on FASD at 584-1140.