Fetal Alcohol Syndrome – A Global Issue

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on May 18, 2017 · 0 comments

A study done by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Canada found that every year more than 100,000 children are born worldwide with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). FAS is a lifelong disorder with a known cause and it is preventable.

Globally, about 10% of women in the general population consume alcohol during pregnancy, and one of every 67 of these women delivers a child with FAS. Russia, United Kingdom, Denmark, Belarus and Ireland have the highest alcohol use during pregnancy, whereas countries in the Eastern Mediterranean and South East Asia have the least. The reason for this could be that this area of the world has a higher Muslim population with requires abstinence from alcohol.

Despite public health efforts in many countries to eliminate or reduce the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy, a high number of pregnant women continue to drink. Experts believe that the rate of FAS will increase around the world in the coming years because binge drinking, and drinking during pregnancy are increasing among young women in a number of countries. In addition, a large percentage of pregnancies globally are unplanned. Unplanned pregnancies can put embryos at risk of being exposed to alcohol in the earliest stage of pregnancy, when brain and facial development are particularly vulnerable to its effects.

Bottom line: If you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, don’t drink.

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