Alcohol - Is Anyone Listening?
Alcohol + Babies = Birth Defects
1) A man’s health affects his offspring.
2) A woman who drinks anytime from conception throughout the pregnancy
- The father’s age, genetics, diet, smoking, and drinking impact his children’s health.
- Just one drink can cause irreversible birth defects and damage to her baby which can
result in physical, intellectual, behavioral and developmental disabilities. This includes:
Low birth weight and slow growth, problems with heart, kidneys and other organs, and
damage to parts of the brain. Learning disabilities, a low IQ, hyperactivity, difficulty with
attention, poor reasoning and judgment skills. Issues with school and social skills, mental
health, substance use, keeping a job, and trouble with the law.
3) Children whose mothers drank during pregnancy
- No amount of alcohol in any trimester is considered safe for the developing baby.
- Maternal alcohol consumption may also impact that baby’s future children, including the baby’s children and grandchildren who didn’t have direct alcohol exposure.
- Three-fourths of women actively wanting to get pregnant, say they drink alcohol.
- More than 3 million American women are at risk of exposing a developing baby to alcohol, due in part to a lag time very early in the pregnancy before a woman knows that she's pregnant. That may create a window where even women who would never drink if they knew they were pregnant, place their developing baby at risk.
- Some pregnant women mistakenly believe it's possible to drink moderately without risk to the babies they are carrying.
- Women must understand the danger. When you have a child, you have to stop drinking for nine months. (Source: Drinking alcohol while pregnant could harm not just your children, but grandchildren,” by Lois M. Collins, Deseret News, July 16, 2017)
4) Adults who drink alcohol also contribute to
- Up to 1 in 20 school children in the U.S. may have symptoms of FASD’s.
- Babies born to women who drink during pregnancy may suffer fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, including physical, behavioral and intellectual and developmental disabilities that last a lifetime. Fetal exposure creates problems with key organs like the heart and kidneys, low birth weight and growth, damage to parts of the brain, learning disabilities and reasoning challenges, poor mental health, substance abuse and even criminal involvement.
- Babies exposed to alcohol prenatally can grow up with significant lifelong challenges. They may make bad decisions, struggle in school and find it difficult to keep both friends and jobs. Their families are also impacted. If those babies grow up to have children of their own, they may not have picked up the skills they need to be good parents.
- Alcohol exposure disrupts the wiring in the brain, messing up connections and altering gene expression. Epigenetic changes to chromosomes that affect how genes are expressed, can be passed to offspring across generations.
- Prenatal exposure changes motor behavior and increases anxiety in offspring.
- Negative changes can pass to future generations that were not even directly exposed to ethanol. Second and third generations can have similar effects to those with direct exposure.
- Physical Issues: Many physical problems are associated with fetal alcohol exposure, such as heart defects, facial changes, and changes to the brain that are with that child for their lifetime.
Which leads to… behavioral and intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities and low IQ, hyperactivity, difficulty with attention; poor ability to communicate in social situations; poor reasoning and judgment skills.
These can lead to… significant lifeline challenges with school and social skills; living independently; mental health; substance use; keeping a job; and trouble with the law. (Source: CDC Vital Signs, Feb. 2016; American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Nov. 2015)
5) Children are drinking during adolescence
- A cost of over $5.5 billion to the American economy, when women drink while pregnant.
- More deaths of children are caused from alcohol than any other drug.
- Cancers - head, neck, esophagus, breast, colon and liver.
- DUI’s, the leading cause of traffic fatalities in Washington state. "Drunk driving is a national epidemic that threatens every
American across the nation. Drunk driving is the most frequently
committed violent crime in the U.S. today.” (Congressman Michael D. Barnes)
- Abuse in families - including domestic violence and child abuse. Alcohol abuse touches 1/3 of all families.
- Sexual assaults and rape, including most campus sexual assaults.
- Rising health costs, premature death and diminished accomplishment. 700,000 people in the U.S. receive treatment for alcohol-related health problems every day, including alcohol poisoning, breast cancer, liver and heart disease; as well as excessive drinking on college campuses which often lead to brain injury, a vegetative state, or death.
- Hospitalization - the reason for 1/4 of all hospital admissions.
- Unemployment - the inability to keep a job because of chronic alcoholism. $249 billion dollars in lost worker productivity and treatment of alcohol-related problems (2010)
- Loss of potential - reduced marital and lifetime success and happiness.
- Crimes and property damage.
- Harmful interactions with prescription drugs.
- Children who drink before their brains are fully developed, are left with diminished mental capacity, and an increased likelihood of becoming an alcoholic.
Is Anyone Listening?
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