International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) Awareness Day 2021


, it enters the unborn baby’s bloodstream that additionally causes permanent and irreversible damages to the organs of the developing fetus.

These lead to physical and intellectual problems in the born children. FASDs are completely preventable by avoiding alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

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Initially, the International FASD day was celebrated on September 9th in 1999 (9/9/99). The ninth day of the ninth month of the year was chosen to signify abstaining from alcohol for the complete nine months of pregnancy for a woman.

However, awareness should exceed beyond the event of remembrance and be cultivated by every woman to prevent FASD.

Burden of Alcohol

In the United States, alcohol is deemed as the foremost preventable cause of several birth defects and developmental disorders. It can damage the developing fetal brain. Almost thousands of children are born with life-long disabilities annually due to being prenatally exposed to alcohol.

Every 1 in 8 women drinks alcohol during her pregnancy as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This raises the child’s risk for various disorders including low IQ, learning disabilities, speech and language delays, behavioral problems, vision and hearing problems, and many others.

The severe effects of the alcohol are particularly noted during the first three months of pregnancy – a time when a woman may not even be aware she is pregnant.

Hence, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recognizes International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day as a reminder that during pregnancy, there is no “safe” level of drinking.

It is best recommended for the women (who are sexually active and not using birth control or trying to become pregnant) to abstain from drinking.

International Awareness

The international day illustrates the range of conditions that can emerge from alcohol use during pregnancy. People all around the globe unite to celebrate the event and dignify knowledge on the dangers of drinking during pregnancy.

The day also brings to light the fight of the individuals and families who suffer from FASD.

Several organizations like NOFAS, the NOFAS Affiliate Network, federal agencies, The European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI), and countless others join hands to prevent prenatal alcohol exposure and support children and adults living with FASD on this global day and throughout the month.

Event Commemoration

The event emphasizes the passing of the notion – “Alcohol and pregnancy: No safe amount; No safe time; No safe alcohol. Period.” Almost every time zone of the countries from New Zealand to Alaska ring the bells at 9:09 am to again notify the nine minutes past nine on the ninth day of the ninth month.

Basic Health Messages
are passed on FASD that include:

  • Stop drinking alcohol if you are thinking of falling pregnant.
  • Stop drinking alcohol if you are pregnant.
  • If you cannot stop, drink less and seek professional help.
  • Whatever the mother drinks so do the unborn baby.
  • Alcohol harms unborn babies who will need special care all their lives because they could suffer from physical defects, abnormal facial anomalies, and be mentally challenged.

  • Babies will not develop Fetal Alcohol Syndrome if the mother does not drink alcohol.
  • If you drink alcohol do not fall pregnant. Use contraceptives correctly.

Hence every little drop of alcohol that the mother consumes is harmful to the developing fetus and also increases the risk of miscarriage.


As the COVID-19 pandemic marks the restrictions that curtail several social activities for the event, New Zealand comes up with a theme to step into the red shoes and share the clicks to for strengthening the FASD awareness.

Years ago, an adult living with FASD – RJ Formanek sparked Red Shoes Rock! He chose to wrap up the red shoes to stand out from the crowd, get people talking, and make FASD noticeable – now it’s gone global!

September attracts everyone to wear RED SHOES as they step out to S T R E T C H those legs around the neighborhood.
In the case of indoors, one can capture their best indoor bubble dance moves in those shoes!

Join Hands to Make a Difference

As several FASD organizations across the world are bestowing a list of resources throughout the month to prevent FASD, one can easily connect even online to learn and join the share.

FASD related events like presentations, social media programs, a 9km run/walk for life or fun run, workshops, and resolutions are planned and featured to promote the awareness to the largest national FASD audience.

The CDC in collaboration with the FASD team has also released the NOFAS public awareness guide that includes information about how to start a support group or own community organization, ways to develop prevention activities, and reach the media & other important audiences.

2021 Online FASD Day

A digital toolkit of resources has been developed by Te Hiringa Hauora (Health Promotion Agency) to assist the promotional activities for FASD awareness month.

An online event is hosted by the University of Auckland and Alcohol Healthwatch on Thursday, Sept 9 from 8:50 am to 9:50 am to mark the FASD Awareness Day ( This includes the guest speakers – The Children’s Commissioner, Judge Andrew Becroft, and the Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero with a moment of reflection at 9:09 am.

FASD Fact Sheet

  • FASD diagnosis and management differ according to the different symptoms.
  • The term FASDs is not meant for use as a clinical diagnosis.

  • There is no blood test to diagnose FASD.

  • Although conditions like ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder)and Williams syndrome have similar symptoms to FAS, they must be ruled out.

  • Management of FASD aims to only cope with certain symptoms, and behavior like education therapy, parent training, and other alternative approaches.

It is thereby the responsibility of the whole community to support alcohol-free pregnancies for preventing the deadly consequences of FASD.


  1. National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  2. International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day
  4. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs)
  5. International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day is September 9
  6. FASD Month – (
  7. International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day
  8. World Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Day 2021

Source: Medindia

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