The nine months pregnancy period invites us to reassess our consumptions habits.
Alcohol crosses the placenta to the fetus and is toxic to the unborn child. Its effects cannot be predicted—they are highly variable and unfortunately permanent. Alcohol can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).
Many factors influence the well-being and health of a fetus including alcohol. You have the means to insure the rest of your pregnancy. Try drinking without alcohol from now on. If you think you have issues with alcohol or addicted to it, talk to your doctor or health professional. To cease or reduce your drinking or to express your insecurities or fears, resources are available.
As much as possible, try to adopt a healthy lifestyle: eat a variety of foods, sleep sufficiently (or get enough sleep), do physical activities, avoid smoke (ou refrain from smoking), take time for yourself, etc. During your pregnancy’s follow-ups with a health professional, don’t hesitate to ask advises regarding your health or that of your fetus.
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.
To prevent FASD, we need to talk about alcohol. However, talking about alcohol use during pregnancy is still taboo and can be tricky.
Discover our tools to better support expectant mothers and their loved ones during pregnancy monitoring, in schools and across all walks of life.
Do you have questions about your pregnancy or the pregnancy of someone close to you? Are you interested in finding out about organizations that offer support to stop alcohol use during pregnancy? Are you looking for support on how to live with FASD day-to-day?
Here are some essential resources.
A. The more alcohol you consume, the higher the risk. But drinking only a little does not necessarily protect the fetus! No amount or type of alcohol is safe during pregnancy. A beer could cause FASD as well as hard liquor. Moderate consumption can also have the same consequences as higher consumption. Many uncontrollable factors influence the impact of alcohol on the fetus, including the genetics of the mother and the unborn child.
A. Alcohol is not only “not good” for the unborn baby, it’s toxic. This teratogenic substance can cause birth defects, which means it can affect various organs, including the heart, the brain and the kidneys. Alcohol can also cause miscarriage, premature delivery or stillbirth.
A. Many so-called alcohol-free beers actually contain a small amount of alcohol, often between 0.3 % and 0.5 %. It’s best to choose a product with 0 % of alcohol. Look at labels to find 100 % alcohol-free beer. Some totally alcohol-free spirits also exist.
A. No amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy. Although alcohol can evaporate when heated, it’s difficult to predict whether any will remain in a cooked dish. In the absence of reliable data and official recommendations, it’s best to avoid alcohol and replace it with non-alcoholic options (e.g. broth, apple juice).
A. Yes! Visit our Resources section to discover various non-alcoholic drink ideas to quench your thirst.
A. FASD is a consequence of prenatal alcohol exposure. This disorder is the leading preventable cause of birth defects, developmental disorders and intellectual disability in unborn children. These disorders are grouped under the term fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).
A. No. The effects of alcohol are permanent, and FASD is an irreversible condition. However, early intervention for people living with FASD can better address their challenges.
A. The effects of alcohol on the fetus are unpredictable and variable. Only an estimated 10% to 20% of people with FASD have noticeable facial features such as a thin upper lip, small eyes or a smooth area between the nose and mouth. For others, FASD is an invisible disability.
A. People living with FASD, like Charly, may face a variety of challenges. These can include developmental disabilities, language impairments, relationship challenges, learning problems such as difficult understanding and retaining information, or independence issues. FASD is also a major cause of hyperactivity in youth. Charly’s videos and Guillaume and Marc-André’s testimony (FR) illustrate some of the possible realities.
The more our society is aware of the impacts of alcohol use during pregnancy and FASD, the easier it will be to support expectant mothers in abstaining from alcohol during this stage of their lives as well as support people with FASD and their families.
Contribute to this movement by sharing information with your friends and family!