Dear Next President,
Do you know that the effects of drinking while pregnant can be life threatening to an unborn baby or cause lifelong disabilities? When a pregnant woman drinks, the alcohol goes through the fetus’s bloodstream. This issue is very important to me: I struggle with day-to-day activities because I have fetal alcohol syndrome. The worst part is knowing that my birth mother in Russia could have stopped drinking earlier if she had known she was hurting me. We need more education and advertising against drinking while pregnant which causes physical and cognitive disabilities to the babies born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).
First, let me explain the effects of FASD. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with FASD might have “abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip (this ridge is called the philtrum), small head size, shorter-than-average height, low body weight, poor coordination, hyperactive behavior, difficulty with attention, poor memory, difficulty in school (especially with math), learning disabilities, speech and language delays, intellectual disability or low IQ, poor reasoning and judgment skills, sleep and sucking problems as a baby, vision or hearing problems, problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones.” While I do not have all of these issues, I have some, and they make my life difficult and stressful. For instance, I am short and that makes it harder to do things like dust and do other chores that require me to reach up high. I also have short term memory loss. so I forget things that people tell me like a minute ago. That is the effect of fetal alcohol syndrome.
Next, I think we need better education and advertising on preventing drinking while pregnant and its consequences. It surprised me to find out that more educated women need more information. Promises Treatment Centers reports that “...being relatively well-educated leads to a roughly 40 percent increase in the chances that a woman will continue to drink alcohol while in the first trimester of a pregnancy...have an approximately 77 percent higher chance of continuing to drink throughout the latter stages of pregnancy...well-educated women who stop drinking while pregnant have a roughly 67 percent higher chance of beginning to consume alcohol again before they deliver their children.” This shows that not enough women know about drinking while pregnant, or if they do, they still continue to drink.
As our next President of the United States, I want you to lead the government in doing more like put up advertisements on billboards, air TV advertisements, and have support groups for pregnant women so that they can learn what happens to a fetus if it gets alcohol in its body.
W. St. Paul, Minnesota