Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Utah Salons Love Babies: Stylists join in statewide effort to reduce drinking in pregnancy

(Salt Lake City, UT) – When a woman drinks alcohol during pregnancy, so does her baby. The same amount of alcohol that i¬¬s in her blood gets to the baby's blood through the umbilical cord. “But there’s a critical difference in how that alcohol affects the fetus,” said Lynn Tanner, Chair, Utah Fetal Alcohol Coalition. “Mom’s liver works hard to break down the alcohol, but baby’s liver can’t, and the birth defects caused by drinking last a lifetime.”

That’s why the Utah Department of Health (UDOH), Utah Fetal Alcohol Coalition (UFAC) and Utah salons are observing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day with the We Love Babies campaign. Participating salons will receive materials that explain to hair stylists and nail technicians the dangers of alcohol in pregnancy -- so they can bring up the subject with their clients. “Women and men know they can talk about almost anything with their stylist,” said Becky Sorensen, a stylist and manager with Great Looks Beauty in Sandy. “When the Coalition asked us to participate, we didn’t hesitate and are ready to start the conversation.”

Alcohol is one of the most dangerous substances a woman can use in pregnancy. The more mom drinks, the more serious the effects on the fetus. Heavy alcohol use can cause:
  • Sleep and nursing problems
  • Vision and hearing problems
  • Learning and behavior problems
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Speech and language delays
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Problems with the heart, kidneys, eyes, ears, and more
The most disabling of all alcohol-related problems are Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, or FASDs. Each year, as many as 40,000 babies are born with an FASD in the U.S., costing up to $6 billion annually in institutional and medical costs. Children with FASDs may need care from a range of health care professionals, such as psychologists, speech pathologists, social workers, nutritionists, and surgeons.

“Unfortunately,  many woman say they were told by their doctor that a few glasses of wine or beer a week is okay in pregnancy,” said Julia Robertson, Program Manager for the UDOH MotherToBaby Pregnancy Risk Line. “But there is no known safe amount of alcohol when you’re pregnant.”  When women call MotherTo Baby worried about the baby and upset because they recently drank alcohol,  Robertson  says, “We tell those moms that the important thing is to stop drinking now to increase their odds of having a healthy baby.”

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Day begins worldwide annually at 9:09 a.m. on Sept. 9 — the 9th hour and  9th minute of the 9th day of the 9th month — to remind moms not to drink during the nine months of pregnancy,

We Love Babies Week in Utah is September 8-12.  In addition to talking about alcohol in pregnancy, participating stylists will give clients information packets and goodie bags.

The UDOH is a member of UFAC. For more information on FASD and the Coalition, visit http://www.utahfetalalcohol.org/.


Media Contact:
Cyndi Bemis
Education and Outreach Coordinator
MotherToBaby Utah
(o) 801-538-6924 (m) 801-550-4228