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Pause and think on FASD Day Sunday

September 7, 2012

 

This Sunday the 9th of September is International Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day across the world.
 
The day dates back to 09/09/99, when the first International FASD Awareness Day was observed. The ninth day of the ninth month was selected to represent the nine months of pregnancy, the time when women should abstain from consuming any alcohol at all.
 
Federal member for Murray, Dr Sharman Stone, who is the Co-Convenor of the Parliamentary Group for working towards the prevention of FASD, says the evidence is overwhelming for women that do drink alcohol, to give it up temporarily.
 
“Pregnant mothers drinking alcohol is the number one cause of non-congenital, irreversible and permanent brain damage to new-born babies in Australia” Sharman Stone said.
 
FASD is a syndrome which includes a number of conditions, including physical, mental, behavioural, learning and development problems that are linked to foetal exposure to alcohol.
 
The National Health and Medical Research Council recommends no alcohol be consumed by pregnant or breastfeeding women.
 
Drinkwise Australia, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have kicked off an education campaign encouraging doctors to more comprehensively discuss alcohol and pregnancy with their patients.
 
Included in the national campaign is the distribution of posters and brochures. Women will be advised to give up alcohol while planning a pregnancy, being pregnant, or while breastfeeding.
 
Sharman Stone put into Parliament last year a private members motion calling for a national strategy to raise awareness & help support children born with FASD. This has now led to a national government inquiry, which will report this month.
 
Dr Stone will also be launching a video in Parliament House, Canberra next Wednesday. It features a young boy with FASD talking about his condition, & wishing ‘if only he was normal.’
 
“The issue is not just for our mothers to be. Fathers and the rest of the community need to raise awareness of the problem and support mothers in their decision not to drink for the 9 months of pregnancy” Sharman Stone said. “This is a very short term commitment to help protect your baby from a permanent disability.”

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