Alberta recognizes International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day
International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day, on September 9, is the time to share the message that expectant mothers should not drink alcohol during pregnancy.
“More than 36,000 Albertans are affected by FASD, which directly or indirectly affects everyone in Alberta. Reducing the incidence of FASD is a priority for our province and FASD Day is an important opportunity to share with family and friends that FASD can be prevented if women are encouraged and supported to avoid the use of alcohol during pregnancy.”
FASD includes a complex range of brain injuries and developmental, physical, learning and behavioural conditions that can result from exposure to alcohol during pregnancy. Drinking can be harmful at any point because the baby’s brain and nervous system develops throughout the entire pregnancy. FASD is a permanent disability and people with FASD often need help with mental health, social services, housing, education and training, justice, addictions and family supports that can cost up to $1.8 million during their lifetime.
Some women need support, care, and treatment to help them stop drinking during pregnancy. Women who are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant should consider talking to their health care provider or asking for help to learn more about services available, such as the Parent-Child Assistance Program provided through Alberta’s 12 FASD Service Networks. Friends, partners, and family members can also assist a pregnant woman by asking how they can help her to make healthy choices and healthy babies. Preventing FASD births in 10 babies saves enough dollars to fund an entire year of all the services provided by the 12 networks.
Albertans are encouraged to contact their local FASD Service Network or Alberta Supports at 1-877-644-9992 to learn about resources available. They can also visit fasd.alberta.ca for more information, learn about local FASD Day events, or to register for upcoming learning sessions and three conferences being held this fall.