Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is the term used to describe the range of harms that can result from alcohol use during pregnancy. At Northern Health, we are committed to supporting International FASD Awareness Day. This day was chosen so that on the ninth day of the ninth month of the year, the world will remember that during the nine months of pregnancy a woman should abstain from alcohol. FASD can be prevented!
Drinking alcohol at any point during a pregnancy can harm the baby because baby’s brain and nervous system are developing throughout the entire pregnancy. Alcohol’s effect on the developing brain can mean that children may have lifelong learning difficulties and problems with memory, reasoning and judgment.
What if I was drinking before I knew I was pregnant?
Having a small amount of alcohol before you knew you were pregnant is not likely to harm your baby. Quitting alcohol now and looking after your own health are the best ways to ensure that your baby is healthy. Pregnant women benefit from:
- Lots of rest
- Regular medical care
- Healthy food
- Supportive friends and family
- Healthy recreation and physical activities
- It is best to avoid cigarettes and other drugs during pregnancy, including alcohol
Tips for partners and friends of pregnant women
- Have a non-alcohol drink option at parties or gatherings
- Bring non-alcoholic drinks for outings
- Hang out with people who don’t drink
- Encourage women who are pregnant not to drink
- Respect the decision made by pregnant women not to drink
- Participate in recreational and physical activities with your pregnant friend or partner
- For yourself, be aware of Canada’s Low Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines (ccsa.ca)
Where can I get more information and help?
If you need help to cut down or stop drinking, be sure to talk to someone. Friends, family or a doctor, midwife, nurse or counsellor can help. In addition, these are some great resources:
- Your Local Public Health Unit
- Health Link BC
- BC Association of Pregnancy Outreach Programs
- Northern Health’s website for more information about support for you and your family during your pregnancy
What are some ways you support families not to drink alcohol when mom is pregnant?
About Sarah Brown
Sarah Brown was born in Zambia, Africa and has lived and worked in many small rural communities across Canada. Prince George has been home for the past 20 years with her husband, two children, cat and dog. Sarah is a graduate of UNBC and a Public Health Nurse Practice Development Leader. She has many interests in the field of preventive public health. Sarah love’s being outdoors (even in the snow!) and is often out hiking, appreciating the beautiful trees, birds and blue skies of the north. Sarah is passionate about learning, reading, gardening & watercolor painting!