Healthy lifestyles Alcohol & substance misuse Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

Pregnancy is an important time in a woman’s life when “Zero Matters”.

When you are pregnant, there is:

·         No safe time to drink alcohol

·         No safe type of alcohol

·         No safe amount of alcohol 

Drinking while pregnant puts your unborn baby at risk for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). FASD is a term used to describe the range of harms that can result from drinking alcohol during pregnancy. It is the leading known cause of preventable developmental disabilities among Canadian people.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can put your baby at risk for:

·         Brain damage 

·         Hearing difficulties

·         Vision difficulties

·         Organ damage

·         Slow growth

·         Not properly formed bones and limbs


Other concerns for those with FASD range from mild to severe and can include:

·         Mental health illnesses (e.g. depression or   obsessive-compulsive disorder)

·         learning disabilities

·         difficulty understanding the consequences of their actions

·         physical disabilities such as kidney and internal organ problems

·         skeletal abnormalities such as facial deformities

·         Alcohol and drug problems
*Source: Health Canada


FASD is 100% preventable when women don’t drink alcohol during their pregnancy.

The safest choice is not to drink any alcohol while pregnant. In fact, it is best to stop drinking even before you become pregnant. Birth defects associated with alcohol use can occur in the first three to eight weeks of pregnancy, before a woman may even know that she is pregnant. Many pregnancies are not planned, meaning some women may have consumed alcohol before they knew they were pregnant. 


For more information please contact:

·         Your healthcare provider

·         Oxford County Public Health - 519-421-9901 ext. 3473 or toll-free at 1-800-922-0096

·         Addictions Services of Thames Valley - 519-673-3242

·         FASD E.L.M.O. Network

·         Motherisk (confidential phone call) 1-877-FAS-INFO (1-877-327-4636)         

·         Rethink Your Drinking