September is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Month

Alcohol is used by many adults and youth in our society.

  • Aug. 31, 2016 3:00 p.m.

Barbara Latkowski

Caledonia Courier

Alcohol is used by many adults and youth in our society.

Approximately 73% of women between the ages of 18 – 44 consumed alcohol in the past year.

The unplanned pregnancy rate in Canada is approximately 40% and about 15% of women report drinking during pregnancy.

But drinking during pregnancy can have harmful effects on an unborn child.

Alcohol is a poison that can damage the baby’s growing cells and cause lifelong disabilities.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is the leading cause of developmental disabilities in Canada.

Joan MacGillivray, community action coordinator with Nechako Valley Community Services in Fort St. James, is determined to raise awareness about FASD.

“On Sept. 9, I will be at the high school for breakfast sharing information about this disorder. Then I will be at The Key Resource Centre for brunch followed by a visit to Nak’azdli Health Centre. “It’s important women learn more about this disorder and the lasting effects it can have on an unborn children,” MacGillivray said.

“The Pub will also be offering non-alcoholic drinks to pregnant women.”

But MacGillivray says that this isn’t something that affects low income mothers as often perceived.

According to Bulkley Valley FASD Committee, it’s time to look beyond stereotypes. Women who are not as easily identified as drinking during pregnancy include: women over 35 years, women who are social drinkers, women who are highly educated, women with a history of sexual and emotional abuse and women of high socioeconomic status.

In Alberta, 40.5 % of women who earn $80,000 or more annually report drinking during pregnancy; 23% of women who earn between $60,000 and $79,999 annually report drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

Of all children exposed to alcohol during pregnancy, 40% will have a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and 4% will have the most severe form of it called Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

The disorder includes mental, physical, behavioural and learning disabilities ranging from mild to severe.

“This is not just the woman’s responsibility as much as it is the community’s responsibility,” MacGillivray said.

Women don’t intend to hurt their unborn baby when drinking during pregnancy. Often, drinking hides other issues such as: depression, domestic violence, past or current abuse, isolation, feeling overwhelmed or the need to fit in with co-workers or peers.

For MacGillivray, it all starts with community support.

“If we have healthy minds, we have healthy babies.”

 

 

Just Posted

More B.C. ambulance service needed in the North: Hospital chief of staff

Fort St. James physicians talk about the need for easier access to healthcare

Broken axle caused New Hazelton train derailment: TSB

It could happen again without a different way to inspect trains

Cullen remains uncertain about political future

Says he’ll make decision in early March

Terrace resident’s bill banning single-use plastics introduced in Ottawa

MP Nathan Cullen’s presented Ben Korving’s private member’s bill Wednesday

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

Junior Team Canada brings home gold to B.C., again

In a 9-4 victory over Switzerland, a Langley-based curling team earned its 2nd straight world title

People gather for funeral of seven children killed in fast-moving Halifax fire

Traditional portion of the service will be followed by words from community members

B.C. weavers to help Alaska Native project honouring survivors of violence

Dozens of Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers from all over North America will be weaving 5-inch-by-5-inch squares

B.C. skip Sarah Wark and team eliminated at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Nontheless pretty impressive stuff from the 24th-ranked team in the country

Pope’s sex abuse prevention summit explained

It’s A high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops the global problem

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Most Read