Alcohol & Drug-Related Birth Defects Awareness Week: On 8-14 May

Pregnancy can be a wonderful thing. There is nothing more satisfying than raising your own baby and watch him or she becomes a responsible citizen. But before a baby is even born, there are challenges that might affect it. One of these is drug and alcohol abuse by the expecting mother. It can have negative effects during birth and lead to other bigger problems in life. That is the reason the Alcohol & Drug-Related Birth Defects Awareness Week was set.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse

We all know that abusing drugs and alcohol can have negative effects on our wellbeing. People have committed suicide, ended up in accidents and committed a whole lot of crimes all because of drugs and alcohol. In addition to this, the cost of using drugs is so very high that it might leave one impoverished.

When it comes to pregnant mothers, however, the danger is not just for themselves – the unborn baby also stands a good chance of paying the price of their mother’s actions.

About 20% of pregnant women smoke cigarettes, 12% drink alcohol and 6% use an illicit drug at least once during pregnancy. These numbers are very alarming. If only people knew the dangers of their decisions, perhaps we would be looking at something more acceptable in those numbers.

Effects of Drug and Alcohol Abuse on the Newborn

Alcohol Abuse on the Newborn

It is not fair for someone to be punished because of poor decisions by their mother. But despite this, more babies are born with defects that could have been prevented had their mothers not indulged in drug and alcohol abuse. Some of the dangers babies are likely to face include:

  • Low birth weight
  • Small head circumference
  • Development delay
  • Facial abnormalities like small eye openings or jaw defects
  • Epilepsy
  • Poor coordination
  • Poor concentration

Help On Drug and Alcohol Abuse

If you are planning on getting pregnant and you use drugs or alcohol, it is a good idea to seek help as soon as you can. That is the only way you can prevent many of those problems from occurring with your child. But at the same time, you will also help yourself as these substances can destroy you.

If you are already pregnant, then you should refrain from using drugs or alcohol. Since this is easier said than done, talk to a health care professional near you. You will also find centers that have counselors to help people deal with such problems.

Alcohol & Drug-Related Birth Defects Awareness Week

Birth Defects Awareness Week

In light of the issues associated with drug and alcohol abuse during pregnancy, a week has been set to raise awareness of this growing problem. The main theme every year is that alcohol, drugs and pregnancy do not go together. This year, celebrations will start on the 8th of May and run through until the 14th of May.

Purpose of Alcohol & Drug-Related Birth Defects Awareness Week

Like mentioned above, the week is mainly about raising awareness of the danger of using drugs and alcohol when one is pregnant. It shows people why it is an unfair practice on the unborn child. While some will do this knowingly, many are unaware of the fact that they are pregnant when they use alcohol or drugs.

Statistics show that most women will know they are pregnant in their 4th to 6th week. By this time, the damage may have already been done if the mother had been using drugs or alcohol. So mothers are encouraged to quit using these substances at the slightest sign of pregnancy and seek help immediately.

Message on Alcohol & Drug-Related Birth Defects Awareness Week

If you have never attended the events during this week, then you should be aware that the activities are aimed at teaching the public of the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse during pregnancy. Specifically, the message targets women in the childbearing age range of 15 to 45 years. During this period, you learn that using drugs and alcohol of any amount is unsafe at any time during pregnancy. So consequently, the chances of having a healthier baby are higher as long as you follow the advice given.

What to Do During Alcohol & Drug-Related Birth Defects Awareness Week

Since we all stand a chance of having a baby at some point in life, it makes a lot of sense to be familiar with these kinds of issues. So you are urged to attend the events happening in your area during this week. If for some reason you cannot attend, then you can utilize the internet to learn more. You might also be able to help someone with your knowledge.

And as a good citizen, you are encouraged to spread the message on the dangers of this malpractice. A mother’s recklessness should not come at a price that has to be paid by an innocent soul.

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