Alcohol and Pregnancy:  What’s the Risk?

September is FASD Awareness month.  As a member of the Toronto FASD Network, we are joining the Red Shoes Rock campaign to raise awareness about this preventable disease. To recognize this important initiative, the Toronto sign lit up in red on September 9th, and we’re asking you to help us spread the word by wearing your red shoes throughout the month of September to bring attention to the impact FASD has on individuals and families.

What is FASD & what does it mean for baby?

  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder(FASD) is a lifelong disability that has no cure.  FASD is a term used to describe the range of lifelong physical, mental, behavioural and learning disabilities that can occur only in individuals whose birth mother drank alcohol during pregnancy.
  • FASD is totally preventable.  The safest choice in pregnancy is no alcohol at all.  In fact, it’s never too late to make positive changes!
  • Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause permanent brain damage and other defects in your baby.  It may also lead to miscarriage, preterm birth, or stillbirth.
  • Any kind or amount of alcohol consumed during pregnancy can be harmful.  This includes liquor, beer, wine or coolers.  Try these tips for easy-to-make refreshing mocktails that are great alternatives.
  • It’s also best not to drink any alcohol if planning a pregnancy. Women often don’t know they are pregnant until they are about 4 weeks into their pregnancy.  Playing it safe means that baby is not exposed to the harmful effects of alcohol.

Help us spread the word: There is no safe amount, no safe type and no safe time to drink alcohol when planning to get pregnant or during pregnancy.

If you or your partner are concerned about alcohol use before conceiving or during pregnancy, speak to your health care provider.  You may also eChat or speak with a Public Health Nurse at (416) 338-7600.

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