Alcohol causes impacts
during the pregnancy.

Drinking alcohol-free during pregnancy is worth the effort.

It’s not always easy. Help and tools are available.

If you have concerns, or if you cannot find answers to your questions, call 811 or talk to your healthcare professional.

Why should you avoid consuming alcohol during pregnancy?

Alcohol crosses the placenta and travels to the fetus. It is toxic to the unborn child. Alcohol can, among other harms, cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).

I have consumed alcohol, what should I do?

At any given time, stopping or reducing alcohol consumption as much as possible is always beneficial.

In addition to drinking alcohol-free, adopting healthy lifestyle habits can also promote your health and that of your unborn child.

Is there a time during pregnancy when drinking alcohol is less risky?

Science has not been able to establish a time during pregnancy when alcohol is safe. The consequences of alcohol use on the fetus are influenced by different factors such as:

  • The stage of pregnancy
  • The amount consumed
  • The consumption of a large amount of alcohol on a single occasion
  • The mother’s genetics
  • The mother’s health and nutritional status
  • The child’s genetic makeup

What are the impacts of alcohol consumption on the fetus?

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause FASD, which can manifest itself through:

  • Birth defects (e.g.: heart, brain, kidneys),
  • Developmental disorders (e.g.: attention and learning disorders),
  • Intellectual disability

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can also have other consequences, which 9 times out of 10 are not visible physically.

To better understand the impact FASD can have on a person’s life, you can watch a series of short videos about Charly. Charly lives with FASD and struggles to find their way, express themselves, and make friends.

Living with FASD :
A daily challenge for the whole family

Guillaume is a young adult with FASD. Despite the many obstacles he’s faced, he’s proud of how far he’s come with the support of family and friends. He and his father, Marc-André, share their day-to-day life with this disorder with an open heart and no taboos.

A Strong Support Network is Important

Supporting women and pregnant people’s choice to drink alcohol-free can make a big difference. Life partners, friends, colleagues, family, community members, and healthcare professionals can all have an impact. Read on to discover effective ways you can help.

A world where it's good to drink without alcohol for the benefits of future mothers

It’s not because we suddenly decide to start a family that, our physical and social environment changes to help us stop drinking alcohol for 9 months. In Quebec, alcohol is omnipresent in our lives, and, for some pregnant women, this makes abstinence even more difficult.

aspq illustration professionnels

Tools for professionals

Talking about alcohol consumption during pregnancy and FASD can be complex.

Discover tools to address the issue of alcohol consumption during pregnancy with an open and compassionate approach, including videos, posters and a fact sheet on FASD.

Discover non-alcoholic drinks

Looking for ideas for alcohol-free drinking? There is something for everyone.

Here are some suggestions.

 

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Percentage of people whose alcohol consumption was not discussed during their prenatal check-ups.
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Percentage of pregnant women who have never seen any information on alcohol consumption during pregnancy
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Percentage of people not aware of FASD

FAQ

Alcohol and pregnancy

A. The more alcohol you drink during pregnancy, the higher the risks. But occasional or moderate consumption does not necessarily protect the fetus from harm. No amount or type of alcohol is safe during pregnancy. Beer can cause FASD just like hard liquor.

Moderate consumption can also cause FASD because there several uncontrollable factors at play when it comes to the impact of alcohol on the fetus, such as the genetics of the mother and that of the unborn child.

 

A. Alcohol is toxic to the unborn baby. It can cause birth defects, that is, affect the development of organs, such as the heart, brain and kidneys.

Alcohol can also affect the course of the pregnancy itself, notably by causing a miscarriage or premature birth.

 

A. “Alcohol-free” beer and wine sometimes contain between 0.3 and 0.5% alcohol. It is recommended to choose products with 0% alcohol. Some completely alcohol-free spirits also exist.

 

A. Although alcohol evaporates when heated, it can be difficult to predict whether or not a cooked dish still contains alcohol. In the absence of reliable data and official recommendations, it is preferable to replace alcohol with an alcohol-free option (e.g., broth, apple juice).

 

FASD information

A.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause FASD in your unborn child. FASD can manifest itself as:

  • Congenital anomalies (e.g., heart, brain, kidneys);
  • Developmental disorders (e.g., attention and learning disorders);
  • An intellectual disability.

A. No, there is no cure for FASD. However, people living with FASD can be supported with the help of a specialized team.

 

A. Around 10% of people living with FASD have facial features such as a thin upper lip, small eye openings or a flat or smooth philtrum, for example. In most cases, FASD is invisible.

 

A.

People living with FASD experience a variety of difficulties. Some of them can affect their performance at school or their social relationships. Others have an impact on their autonomy. You can learn more about the reality of living with FASD by watching Charly’s videos and Guillaume and Marc-André’s testimony.