Why Are We Doing This?
We need to do more than simply tell women not to drink alcohol. We need to be here for them.
Although most women know that alcohol consumption during pregnancy can harm their developing baby, some women continue to engage in drinking while pregnant. While there are many reasons why expectant mothers may engage in drinking while pregnant, no women drink to intentionally harm their baby. When they drink, it’s for other reasons – a lack of personal or social supports, addiction or any of the other stressors that come with the new responsibility of motherhood.
Women who are most at risk of having a child with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder(FASD) often describe drinking as a way to cope. They need support from friends, family, the larger community, health care providers and others to address many health, social, financial and relational concerns.
“Here for Her” aims to expand Canadians’ understanding of FASD and to encourage Canadians to offer support to the expectant mothers in their lives. Pregnant women need to know that the rest of us are there to support them through this journey – that we all embrace our role in dealing with this challenge.
We want FASD to be recognized as what it is – a problem that CAn ONLY BE SOLVED IF WE ARE HERE FOR HER.
What Can We All Do?
we need TO
Blame can lead to women feeling discouraged or to avoid seeking help.
It adds to the stress and feelings of isolation that can come with pregnancy.
we need to
BE THERE WHEN THEY NEED US
Be open to discussing the stress and pressure of pregnancy, their experiences, coping strategies and needs for healing. We need to be there when they need support, and they need to know we will be.
our TRUST and respect
Pregnancy can be a time of enormous pressure for women. Women receive advice and information from health care providers, websites, friends, family, and even random strangers. Respect the choices that women make to keep themselves and their babies healthy.
What is FASD?
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a term used to describe the many effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol when a mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy. Nine out of every 1,000 babies in Canada are born with FASD. It is the leading known case of brain damage among Canadian children.
Some commonly seen challenges for people with FASD include:
Executive functioning - difficulty with judging, planning gratification, consequences, organization, impulsivity, memory
Communication - can be highly verbal but lack comprehension skills, both written and verbal
Neuromotor Defects - impaired balance and coordination
Sensory Deficits - challenges with pain, touch, heat, and light
FASD has lifelong impacts on individuals,their families, and society. Individuals with FASD need a range of supports to cope with the disability throughout their lives, and their caregivers need support as well.
All drinks containing alcohol can be harmful to developing babies.
Drinking alcohol can be harmful at any point during pregnancy – the baby’s brain and nervous system develops throughout the entire pregnancy.