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

Fire ban back in effect for Northwest Fire Centre region

Starting May 24, both Category 2 and Category 3 prohibitions will be in place

New Seven Sisters replacement confirmed

Mental health facility will have 25 beds, up from 20 in current facility

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

Gallery: Project Heavy Duty inspires students into it’s 32nd year

The event is a collaboration between SD91 and industry in and around Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Fort St. James

Telkwa pot plant application passes review

Cannabis company claims new Health Canada regulations are working in its favour

B.C.’s fight to regulate bitumen through pipelines to go to Canada’s top court

BC Appeal Court judges found B.C. cannot restrict bitumen flow along Trans Mountain pipeline

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parent’s cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Most Read