September is FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) awareness month with September 9th designated as International FASD Awareness Day. This day was started as a reminder that pregnancy and alcohol don’t mix.
Why pregnancy and alcohol don’t mix:
- Alcohol can pass from the mother’s blood into the baby’s blood and affect the growth of the baby’s brain and spinal cord cells.
- This can cause physical, emotional, behaviour and learning challenges in the child that may last all of their life. They may need extra support to reach their full potential.
- FASD is the diagnostic term used to describe these impacts on the brain and body. Problems can range from mild to severe. It is important to diagnose FASD early.
- There is no cure for FASD but it may be possible to get help for specific problems.
- FASD is preventable.
- Drinking alcohol during pregnancy may also lead to miscarriage, preterm birth or stillbirth.
How much alcohol is safe?
- There isn’t enough evidence to know how much harm any amount of alcohol during pregnancy may have.
- No alcohol is the safest choice if you are pregnant or planning to be pregnant.
It is safest not to drink alcohol during pregnancy.
There is NO safe time, NO safe kind, NO safe amount.
So what can you do?
- Stop drinking alcohol before trying to get pregnant or as soon as you know you are pregnant and if you are breastfeeding.
- Learn the facts about alcohol and pregnancy.
- Get support if you need help to stop drinking.
- Help spread the word: pregnancy and alcohol don’t mix!
For more information:
- About Kids Health: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
- FASD Ontario
- Speak with your health care provider
- Connect with a public health nurse via eChat or call 416-338-7600