Our guest blogger for this series is Glenda Knight, MA, Certified Substance Abuse Counselor. Glenda is the manager for our local Project LINK. She has more than 25 years experience working with military families, homeless women, and those with behavioral health conditions. For the past eight years, Glenda has specialized in substance abuse services for women with an emphasis on pregnancy and postpartum. This is the last post of a 3-part series focused on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder.
How can our community prevent FASD?
Pregnant women can avoid the possibility of delivering a baby impacted with FASD by avoiding alcohol during pregnancy. This sounds simple enough, right? But it's not easy not for everyone...
Pregnant women who experience challenges with abstinence during pregnancy can seek assistance from:
- Medical providers
- Project LINK (through the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board)
- Specialized substance abuse treatment for tomen provided by the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board
- National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) (1-800-622-2255)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s, Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator (1-800-622-4357)
Additionally, women who consumed alcohol during pregnancy and have concerns about their children’s development can seek services through their pediatricians or early intervention programs for their infant and toddlers. Medical providers can screen pregnant and postpartum women for risk factors of alcohol use and provide preventive education.
Finally, as a community we can help break down the stigma of maternal substance abuse by encouraging awareness for our elected officials, educators, health providers, and merchants that sell alcoholic beverages.
It is important to realize that optimal development of children starts at conception. Early identification of women who use alcohol during pregnancy and referral to the appropriate community stakeholders can result in a reduction of FAS/FASD in our community. The impact on our childrens' health, too, is enormous! We can all raise a glass (of a non-alcoholic beverage!) to this goal!