September 9th has been declared as the International Foetal Awareness Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).
Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, which affects at least one percent of the population, are caused if a woman consumes alcohol during pregnancy.
FASD encompasses all types of alcohol-related disorders that develop in infants or affect them from birth.
These include foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), alcohol-related neuro development disorders (ARND), alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD), foetal alcohol effects (FAE), and partial foetal alcohol syndrome (pFAS).
Although there is no data charting the exact prevalence of FASD in the UK, international prevalence studies show that at least 1 in 100 children are affected.
In the case of the UK, this would equate to around six to seven thousand babies born with any manifestation of the disorder annually.
These manifestations can range from mild to severe. Some suffer only reduced intellectual ability and attention deficit disorder, while some may suffer heart problems. FASD may even be the cause of death in some cases.
Studies show that many children with FASD experience serious social and behavioural difficulties throughout their life.
Unfortunately, many children born with the disorder are not diagnosed or are not given a correct diagnosis, which has become a barrier to determining the exact prevalence of the disorder in the UK.
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