International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day Date in the current year: September 9, 2024

International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day, also known as International FASD Day, is observed every September 9 to get the general public educated about the many dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

Alcohol is a teratogen, i.e. a substance that may interfere with normal embryo or fetus development and cause birth defects. Consuming any amount of alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, and health conditions collectively known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders; it is unsafe to drink alcohol while pregnant regardless of how much or how little you drink.

The term “fetal alcohol spectrum disorders” (FASD) refers to a group of conditions that can occur in someone whose mother consumed alcohol while pregnant. Common FASD signs and symptoms include growth deficiency (short height and low body weight), abnormal facial features, microcephaly (a smaller-than-normal head), coordination problems, behavioral issues, and learning problems.

The only way to prevent FASD and other alcohol-related birth defects is to avoid alcohol during pregnancy because even small doses may have a negative impact on your future child. If you’re planning a pregnancy, it would be best to stop drinking alcohol as soon as you start trying to avoid accidental consumption in case you conceive but are yet unaware of it.

The inaugural Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day was observed on September 9, 1999. It was founded by Teresa Kellerman of FASSTAR (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Support, Training, Advocacy and Resources) and Brian Philcox and Bonnie Buxton of FASworld, three parent advocates from the United States and Canada.

The number 9 is associated with FASD awareness because women are supposed to abstain from alcohol for the entire nine months of their pregnancy. Every year, bells are rung at 9:09 a.m. on the 9th day of the 9th month to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy.

You can observe International FASD Awareness Day by spreading information about the dangers of FASD, donating to one of the many non-profit organizations that work to raise awareness of FASD around the globe, attending a FASD awareness event near you or even hosting one yourself.

Since the inception of International FASD Awareness Day, the whole month of September has been recognized as FASD Awareness Month, so you can continue to spread awareness beyond September 9 using the hashtag #FASDMonth.

One of the ways to raise awareness of FASD is to participate in the Red Shoes Rock movement by wearing red shoes at a FASD event. Red shoes became associated with FASD thanks to Canadian advocate and educator RJ Formanek, who wore a pair of red shoes when giving a talk on FASD. The Red Shoes Rock movement emerged in 2013 and has been growing ever since.

It should be noted, however, that red shoes are also associated with other causes and awareness days. For example, International Red Shoe Day (July 25) raises awareness of invisible illnesses, and International Red Sneakers Day (May 20) was created to bring attention to the dangers of food allergies.

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International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day, International FASD Awareness Day, international observances