Did you know that no amount or type of alcohol is safe for your baby during pregnancy?
Amber Yoo is a dedicated community volunteer, a career woman with an MBA and a new mom. While volunteering with Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary, she met Dr. Ken Lyons Jones, who first identified Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in 1973 and who diagnoses and treats patients with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) at Rady Children’s Hospital. Dr. Jones repeats a mantra held by health experts like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American Academy of Pediatrics: no amount or type of alcohol is safe during pregnancy, and there is no safe time for alcohol use.
This came as news to Amber. “I was under the impression that an occasional glass of wine was okay during pregnancy,” explained Amber. “It’s a social norm I’ve seen often on TV and in real life.” As Amber discovered, alcohol can be more detrimental during pregnancy than heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine combined. A child with FASD can have symptoms that mimic ADHD and Autism and can also have other learning, behavioral and growth problems. And because the baby’s brain does not develop properly, it is a disability without a cure.
Luckily, Amber heard Dr. Jones’ message in time. “I truly believe it was fate that led me to hear Dr. Jones’ message at the beginning of my pregnancy,” shares Amber. “Once I was educated on the risks, it was an easy decision for me to eliminate alcohol and to firmly decline offers to ‘just try a sip’ from well-meaning but ill-informed friends.”
Amber is now mother to Quinn, a healthy 9-month-old girl, and wants to spread the message about how devastating alcohol can be during pregnancy. “FASD is 100% preventable and more moms-to-be need to hear this,” states Amber. “We need to change our culture and it starts with knowing.”
For more information, visit www.ninemonthsmatter.org.