What is FASD?

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a term that describes the full range of harm that is caused by alcohol use in pregnancy. If a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, her baby may have:

  • brain damage
  • vision and hearing difficulties
  • bones, limbs and fingers that are not properly formed
  • heart, kidney, liver and other organ damage
  • slow growth.

Brain damage means that a child may have serious difficulties with:

  • learning and remembering
  • thinking things through
  • getting along with others.

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Is there a safe time to drink alcohol?

There is no safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy. Your baby’s brain is developing throughout pregnancy. The safest choice during pregnancy is no alcohol at all. In fact it is best to stop drinking before you get pregnant.

Is there a safe amount?

There is no known safe level of alcohol use during pregnancy. It is best not to drink any alcohol during your pregnancy.

Are some types of alcohol less harmful than others?

Any type of alcohol can harm your baby (beer, coolers, wine or liquor). Binge drinking and heavy drinking are particularly harmful to an unborn baby.

What might happen if I drink alcohol while pregnant?

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause permanent birth defects and brain damage to your baby. Many pregnancies are not planned. Having a small amount of alcohol before you knew you were pregnant is not likely to harm your baby. You can help your baby by stopping drinking.

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Do children with FASD grow out of their problems?

There are many things teachers and parents can do to help children with FASD. However, FASD is a life-long problem. Teens or adults with FASD may have:

  • depression
  • trouble with the law
  • drug or alcohol problems
  • difficulty living on their own
  • trouble keeping a job

What if the father drinks alcohol?

If the father drinks alcohol, it will not cause FASD. However, fathers should also try to be as healthy as possible before and during pregnancy.

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How can others help?

Partners, family and friends can help pregnant women to stop drinking by being supportive and encouraging.

Where can I go for help?

If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, choose not to drink any alcohol. If you are worried about your baby or want more information about FASD, call:

  • Motherisk 1-877-FAS-INFO (1-877-327-4636)
  • Your Young Parent Outreach Worker
  • Your health care provider
  • Your local health unit
  • Your local Friendship Centre
  • The INFOline for facts about Ministry of Health programs and services, 1-866-821-7770

You can also get more information by visiting these websites:

Article courtesy www.alcoholfreepregnancy.ca