The Truth About Alcohol, Pregnancy and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

Sure we all know someone who says they continued to enjoy their Friday night drink with a friend while pregnant, but hear me out.  This blog aims to tell you one vitally important thing.  Contrary to what your hair-dresser’s sister-in-law’s dog-walker’s veterinarian’s assistant believes (or even what your own mother may have told you) these are the straight goods about alcohol and pregnancy:

Pregnant and aloneThere is no safe amount or safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy or when planning to be pregnant.  Period.

Now, I don’t mean to be “Debbie Downer” – I really don’t – but this is serious.  I know how it is. I’ve been pregnant, and there are a number of scenarios where it happens.…

  1. You party and drink, stuff happens and the next thing you know, you find out you are expecting a baby.  You may go weeks or even months completely unaware that you are pregnant; all the while continuing your usual lifestyle which includes minimal to moderate to heavy drinking.
  2. You are a 30-something suburban mom who likes the odd glass of wine now and then.  You had the occasional nip during your other pregnancies and thought nothing of it…but you do have that one child who has “impulse control issues” – hmmm…just sayin’ – may or may not be related.
  3. Or, on a more serious note, perhaps alcohol helps you to deal with life’s challenges and you could use some support or treatment for your substance use issues prior to starting a family.

I am not here to lecture or judge – that is definitely not how I roll.  I am simply suggesting one thing… be aware of the reality that you might face – the path that you could unknowingly create for yourself and your family.

Obviously I’m into dishing the straight goods – here are some on what Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is and how to prevent it:

  • FASD is the leading known cause of preventable developmental disability among Canadians.
  • FASD includes a range of disabilities resulting from exposure to alcohol during pregnancy.
  • The effects of FASD on the developing fetus range from mild to severe, but they all have one thing in common…they are preventable.
  • If you drink alcohol while you are pregnant, you are at risk of giving birth to a baby with a diagnosis of FASD because alcohol rapidly crosses the placenta
  • Plan ahead for a healthy pregnancy and stop drinking alcohol completely before you even start trying to conceive. It’s the best way to prevent FASD.
  • If you are pregnant and have been drinking alcohol, stopping now reduces the risk to your baby’s health.
  • There is no cure for the lifelong behavioural, emotional, physical, brain and central nervous defects caused by FASD, but there are supports available to help families living with FASD.
  • If you think your child may have been exposed to alcohol during your pregnancy tell your doctor or others who support your child. It will mean better care for your child.

For more information about alcohol, pregnancy or FASD, or if you are looking for help, a great local resource is: www.haltonfasd.ca.

I know this is a tough subject. I know I may have turned some of you off. This is just that important. So, if you want to talk to us more about drinking during pregnancy or FASD, please connect with us. We’re ready to talk.

For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000

About this guest blogger:

Paula D’Orazio RN is a Public Health Nurse specializing in Preschool Health and Parenting with the Halton Region’s Early Years Health Program.  She is an accredited Triple P Positive Parenting Program individual counsellor and trained facilitator in both Nobody’s Perfect and Beyond the Basics. She is also co-author and facilitator of Halton’s Parenting Basics group curriculum.  A busy, working mom, Paula believes in living healthy and relishes her “live, love and laugh” time with her young family.

This entry was posted in Babies, Mental Health, Physical Health, Pregnancy, School-aged Children, Services, Special Needs, Toddlers and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Truth About Alcohol, Pregnancy and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

  1. Rocio says:

    I find this article really interesting. It is something must be known by everyone. Thank you!

  2. Cynthia Lindsay says:

    Thanks Rocio.We appreciate your comment.

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