Help promote alcohol-free pregnancies, healthier babies

A woman doesn't have to be a heavy drinker for her baby to experience negative long-term effects

(NewsCanada) – Most people know that drinking excessively during pregnancy can harm an unborn baby. But what they may not realize is that a woman doesn’t have to be a heavy drinker for her baby to experience negative long-term effects.
Current research indicates there is no proven safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Consuming alcohol of any kind – including beer, wine, coolers or spirits – during pregnancy is linked to permanent brain damage, low birth weight, birth defects and developmental delays.
There is also no safe time to drink alcohol when pregnant. The brain and central nervous system of an unborn child can be damaged by exposure to alcohol at any time leading up to birth.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is the term used to describe the range of defects and disabilities that are caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. Children with FASD often suffer from learning disabilities, difficulty managing anger, hyperactivity and poor judgment. These can lead to problems with the law, unemployment, homelessness or alcohol and drug abuse later in life.
Here’s the good news – FASD is preventable, and help is available.
ᆬ Get involved. Each year on Sept. 9, people in communities around the world organize local events to raise awareness of the dangers of drinking during pregnancy. Planning resources are available at www.fasworld.com
ᆬ Encourage an alcohol-free pregnancy. You can support a partner, family member or friend to reduce or eliminate her alcohol intake during pregnancy:
1. Join her in having a non-alcoholic drink
2. Have non-alcoholic drinks available at parties.
3. Get together in people’s homes or at coffee shops rather than in bars.
4. Don’t ever suggest that “just one little drink” will do no harm.
ᆬ Be safe. If you are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy, it is safest not to drink any alcohol. More information is available at www.alcoholfreepregnancy.ca or by calling Motherisk at 1-877-FAS-INFO (1-877-327-4636).