A statement about prevention of FASD in the context of staying home to prevent transmission of COVID-19 has been released, and is available on the CanFASD website. It highlights the data in this week’s report from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction about how Canadians have increased their alcohol use during this period of isolation CCSA report.
So it is important for us all to be reminded about the influences on girls and women’s alcohol use, and how to prevent FASD.
- We know that alcohol use during pregnancy can cause harm to fetal health and result in lifetime effects known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
- We also know that there are other factors in addition to alcohol use, that affect risk for FASD, such as the mother’s overall health, nutrition, use of other substances, stress level and connection to prenatal care – all of which may be affected at this time.
- Experts agree that it is safest not to drink alcohol in pregnancy and encourage reducing or stopping alcohol consumption by women and their partners in the preconception and perinatal period.
We encourage women of child bearing years who drink alcohol to:
- Ensure they are using a reliable contraceptive if they are not planning to be pregnant.
- Reduce or eliminate alcohol use when planning a pregnancy.
- Be mindful of alcohol use if you are pregnant. The safest approach is to not use alcohol during this time.
- Seek out alternative coping strategies and support for managing the influences or pressures to drink.
- Seek information about risks and available supports from reliable sources.
- Talk to your health provider or other trusted practitioners.