Discover the various FAQs offered as part of the FASD awareness campaign.

General FAQ

Alcohol and pregnancy

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.

FASD information

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.

Professionals FAQ

Alcohol and pregnancy

A. After exploring and supplementing the woman’s knowledge of the consequences of alcohol use during pregnancy, attempt to learn more about her reasons for drinking in order to offer support without seeking justification.

Here are some examples of questions you could ask :

  • Under what circumstances do you consume alcohol?
  • Do you have any other way to relax/have fun to avoid alcohol use during pregnancy?
  • Have you thought about stopping? If so, what would be your plan to stop? If not, what makes you unable to stop?
  • How can I help you?
  • Did you know that there are free resources to help you in your journey?

If she displays some openness in this regard, let her know that it’s never too late to stop drinking and share some resources with her.

A. No, because there’s no recognized safe level of alcohol use for the fetus. In addition, the consequences of alcohol are unpredictable and depend on uncontrollable factors, such as the genetics of the mother and the unborn child. This is why we recommend abstinence.

A. It’s important to educate the following three target audiences to better prevent FASD.

  • Adolescents and young adults, prior to parenthood:
    Half of all pregnancies are unplanned. Show the awareness campaign videos featuring Charly and display this character in your practice space.
  • Expectant parents and parents, during pregnancy:
    As with other lifestyle habits, alcohol use should be discussed with all pregnant women, regardless of their socioeconomic characteristics. It should also be done at various stages of pregnancy since consumption may occur later or fluctuate.
  • The general population:
    Social environment can have an impact on alcohol use. To better support pregnant women and avoid misinformation as well as social pressure to have “a drink,” the general population must receive the same messages on abstaining from alcohol during pregnancy. Publicizing this website and the During pregnancy, go alcohol free awareness campaign tools can, among other things, help normalize the consumption and availability of non-alcoholic beverages, including at festive events, to create more supporting environments for FASD prevention.

FASD information

A. Only 10 % to 20 % of people with FASD have characteristic facial features. According to the 2015 Canadian guidelines, a multidisciplinary team is required to confidently make a FASD diagnosis. Since there are few specialized teams in Quebec, FASD is under-diagnosed.

If you suspect FASD in a child, specialists at the CHU Sainte-Justine, the Montreal Children’s Hospital or the CHUL in Quebec City can be consulted. SafEra, an organization that specializes in supporting people with FASD, can also refer you to specialized professionals.

To learn more about the importance of diagnosing earlier rather than later, consult the second FASD newsletter, “Briser les tabous pour mieux prévenir” (in French only).

A. The effects of alcohol on a developing baby are variable, unpredictable and permanent. FASD is not a disease, but an irreversible condition. Therefore, there is no treatment. However, early management to stimulate certain spheres of development and propose compensatory strategies will ensure an easier life.

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Understanding FASD and its impact on life is essential

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!

Discover Charly On Instagram

Instagram account for the #alcoholfreepregnancy campaign