First recognized in 1999, International FASD Awareness Day helps raise awareness about the range of conditions that can result from alcohol use during pregnancy. Based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1 in 8 women drinks during her pregnancy, putting her child at risk for a variety of issues including low IQ, learning disabilities, speech and language delays, behavioral problems, vision and hearing problems, and problems with vital organs, among others.
Alcohol can damage the developing fetal brain and is thought to be particularly harmful to the embryo and fetus during the first three months of pregnancy, a time when a woman may not even be aware she is pregnant. Because of this, it is recommended that women who are sexually active and not using birth control abstain from drinking, as well as women who are trying to become pregnant.
Medical assistants should checkout the Medical Assistant FASD PIC. The overall goal of the Medical Assistant Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Practice and Implementation Center (Medical Assistant FASD PIC) is to introduce, improve, and sustain the knowledge and practice behaviors of medical assistants (MAs), particularly MAs certified by the American Association of Medical Assistants, in preventing and intervening with risky and hazardous alcohol use which are supported by the adoption of evidence-based interventions in clinical practices. Specifically, this project is focused on reducing and ultimately preventing alcohol-exposed pregnancies by way of utilizing medical and allied health professionals working on interprofessional health care teams who have access to patients who are pregnant or are of reproductive age.
ASDS ARE COMPLETELY PREVENTABLE
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur when an individual is exposed to alcohol prenatally. To prevent FASDs, alcohol should not be consumed during pregnancy or while trying to get pregnant.
MEDICAL ASSISTANTS ARE KEY
“CMAs (AAMA) are the key communication links between patients and providers, and are uniquely positioned to motivate patients to avoid or stop dangerous alcohol consumption.” – Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA, AAMA Chief Executive Officer and Legal Counsel