Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Month recognized in Fort St. James

It was Fetal Alcohol Awareness Disorder Day at The Key in Fort St. James on Sept. 9.

  • Wed Sep 14th, 2016 3:00pm
  • News

Joan MacGillivray explains what Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder can do to children.

Barbara Latkowski

Caledonia Courier

It was Fetal Alcohol Awareness Disorder Day at The Key in Fort St. James on Sept. 9.

The resource centre hosted brunch by Nak’azdli Prenatal Health and all moms, aunties and grandmothers were invited.

It was a full house as community action coordinator, Joan MacGillivray from Nechako Valley Community Services in Fort St. James, presented information on the disorder that prompted good discussion with community members.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is the leading cause of developmental disabilities in Canada.

And approximately 73% of women between the ages of 18-44 consumed alcohol in the past year.

According to MacGillivray, the unplanned pregnancy rate in Canada is about 40% and 15% of women report drinking during pregnancy.

“It’s important that women learn about the lasting effects alcohol can have on unborn children,” MacGillivray said.

But MacGillivray says that it all has to start with the community as a whole.

“For all of the men here, women need your help too. This isn’t just the women’s responsibility as much as it is the community’s responsibility.”

Alcohol is a poison that can damage a baby’s growing cells causing physical, mental, and behavioural disabilities.

“Often women don’t even realise that they are pregnant and they drink” MacGillivray said.

Women don’t intend to hurt their unborn baby when drinking during pregnancy. They often drink to hide other issues like depression, abuse or isolation.”

According to MacGillivray, it’s also important to know that this isn’t something that only affects poor people.

“This is something that affects everyone especially those women with a higher socioeconomic status also.”

The pub is Fort St. James will continue to offer non-alcoholic drinks to pregnant women in support of raising awareness in the community.

And at the Key, women and men were able to enjoy an information filled brunch complete with mocktails for those pregnant to enjoy.

The Bottom line according to the Bulkley Nechako FASD Committee is that there is no safe amount or safe time to drink during pregnancy.