In the US, 20% (about 1 million) of pregnant women smoke cigarettes; another 18% (about 750,000) women drink alcohol during pregnancy; another 6% (225,000) women use an illicit drug at least once while carrying a child to term. Drug and alcohol consumption during pregnancy can have serious and sometimes fatal effects on newborns.
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD), fetal alcohol syndrome disorders (FASD) is the leading known cause of developmental disabilities in newborns. FASD is marked by “growth deficiency before and after birth, developmental delays, intellectual challenges, behavioral problems, changes in facial features such as a flattened midface, small jaw and/or a thin upper lip.” Children with perinatal cocaine exposure are easily distracted, passive and face a variety of visual and perceptual problems and difficulties with fine motor skills. For infants this type of exposure can result low birth weight, smaller head circumference, abnormal neonatal behavior and stroke at birth.
May 12-18, 2013 is Alcohol & Drug-Related Birth Defects Awareness Week. This event is dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers and risks associated with drug and alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
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