FASD: Let’s talk about it

Submitted

On Sept. 9, at 9:09 a.m., the Battlefords Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder committee asks for a moment of silence to recognize those affected with FASD. A pancake breakfast will be held at the north west regional College will brochures and information available as well as shirts, cups and other giveaway items available.

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Many Saskatchewan communities are inviting people to barbecues, walks, or to enjoy Mocktails – non-alcoholic drinks – to raise awareness about fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

One way to prevent FASD is to spread the word that healthy pregnancy doesn’t include alcohol. A healthy pregnancy includes regular visits with a healthcare provider, healthy eating, taking prenatal vitamins, exercising, and avoiding stress.

There is a lot of confusing information about pregnancy and alcohol and people aren’t sure what to do. The Saskatchewan Prevention Institute believes that providing education about FASD prevention will eliminate the confusion. Research shows that -

- alcohol is a dangerous drug and is harmful to developing babies.

- any type of alcohol, wine, beer, cooler, hard liquor can harm the baby.

- there is no known safe amount to drink

- alcohol crosses the placenta and reaches the developing baby

- when the mother drinks she and her unborn baby have the same blood alcohol level

- because the unborn baby’s liver is still growing it takes a long time to get rid of alcohol, giving it more time to damage the babies developing cells

- the damage to the cells can cause a physical and brain-based disability that cannot be cured.

Half of pregnancies are not planned which means many women are drinking before they know they are pregnant. Most women stop drinking as soon as they find out. If they have been drinking, they may worry that alcohol has cost her. No one can say, for certain, if damage has been done. Every baby develops differently and can be affected differently. Stopping alcohol and talking with a healthcare provider can help. Each day without alcohol is good for the developing baby.

Only 10% of children born with an FASD have visible signs. Often the mental, physical, learning and behavioural problems are not obvious until the child is older. Because of this, many children and adults do not receive the help they need to be successful. Early recognition and diagnoses can help children living with an FASD reach their potential. With the right supports, children may have avoid some of the later problems that can develop, such as trouble in school.

Support, not judgment, makes a difference. It is not just a woman’s responsibility to prevent FASD.

-Partners, family and friends can support a pregnant woman’s decision not to drink by taking part in activities without alcohol, stopping or reducing their own drinking, learning Mocktail recipes, and being supportive.

- Healthcare workers can ask about a woman’s drinking, and talk supportively about not drinking alcohol when pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or if they think they are pregnant. - Everyone can learn about addiction services near them and supports for women and families.

- Everyone can learn more about FASD.

On September 9 come and join us. Think about pregnancy and alcohol and how you can make a difference.

For more information, contact Colleen Sabraw FASD committee chair at 446-4545.

 

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