Monthly Archives: January 2018

Indigenous Approaches to FASD Prevention: Brief Interventions with Girls and Women

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BRIEF INTERVENTIONS WITH GIRLS AND WOMEN provides a brief introduction to ways of working with Indigenous girls and women to address alcohol, pregnancy, and other related concerns. It is one of five publications highlighting how FASD prevention is understood and practiced in Indigenous traditional culture. The series is a collaboration of The Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health, the Thunderbird Partnership Foundation, and the Canada FASD Research Network.

Click to view PDF:  IndigFASD-BRIEF-INTERVENTIONS_Jan2018

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FASD Prevention Campaigns Link to Support

Research has shown that everyone has a role to play in preventing FASD and that positive messaging is most effective for promoting awareness and discussion of alcohol use during pregnancy. Understanding positive messaging can help avoid the unintended negative consequences we have seen from previous efforts. Prevention-positive principles include:

  • Using non-exploitative imagery. Prevention campaigns are replacing lone naked-belly images with those that emphasize the mother-child dyad within a supportive network.
  • Respectful messaging that encourages women to access help if they need it rather than fear-based or blaming messaging like “if you loved your baby, you wouldn’t drink.”
  • Linking to where information and help is available.
  • Not describing FASD as “100% preventable” as this may lead women to think that the system of care won’t welcome them if they have already consumed alcohol in pregnancy.

Here are some recent examples of prevention-positive efforts from across Canada.

Yukon

The Yukon FASD Interagency Advisory Committee is taking a prevention-positive approach with their “Alcohol-free is supportive” campaign. It consists of posters in English and French, ads in the local theatres, online ads, and a radio ad as featured on CKRW. Below is an example of one poster with plans for others in the coming months. Partners in this project are the Yukon Government, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society of the Yukon (FASSY), and Child Development Centre.

Alberta

Women can sign up to do a “Dry 9” and receive a t-shirt and emails of support during their pregnancy. The Dry 9 movement encourages others to support women who decide not to drink any alcohol during their pregnancy. Short videos on topics such as the “Persistent Friend”, “Co-Parent to Be”, and the “Previous Generation” can be shared with others. The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission launched the Dry 9 movement last December as part of DrinkSense.

Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan Prevention Institute focused on positive partner support in their “This is why I supported her not to drink” campaign. The information card is available as a poster and there are also versions in Dene and Cree. Learn more about partner influence and support on their “How To Help” page http://skprevention.ca/how-to-help/

Quèbec

Health professionals in Quebec City will use printable pamphlets to have discussions with women and their partners about alcohol and pregnancy. Besides information on alcohol and FASD, the pamphlets, published with the help of Public Heath Agency of Canada, describe fetal development, and resources and support. Link to brochures and posters can be found on the Dispensaire Diétetique de Montréal site.

Ontario

Having discussions about alcohol and birth control with all women of childbearing age and their partners has proven to be an effective FASD prevention strategy. This FASD ONE prevention poster aims to encourage health and social service providers to have discussions and to support a universal screening approach.

For previous posts about other prevention campaigns, see:

ARE SHOCK TACTICS EFFECTIVE? MARCH 22, 2011

SHOULD AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS BE FEAR-BASED OR SUPPORT-BASED? APRIL 20, 2011

STRONG SPIRIT STRONG FUTURE CAMPAIGN IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA DECEMBER 19, 2013

ALCOHOL AND PREGNANCY CAMPAIGN FROM NUNAVUT, CANADA SEPTEMBER 23, 2014

ONTARIO ALCOHOL AND PREGNANCY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN DRAWS MIXED REACTIONS SEPTEMBER 16, 2014

“SWAP THE PUB FOR YOUR BUB” – PREGNANT PAUSE CAMPAIGN LAUNCHES IN CANBERRA AUGUST 21, 2014

FASD AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS: CREATING EFFECTIVE MESSAGES JULY 14, 2014

“WOMEN WANT TO KNOW” CAMPAIGN FOR HEALTH PROFESSIONALS FROM AUSTRALIAJULY 9, 2014

RETHINK YOUR DRINKING CAMPAIGN FROM SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO JANUARY 13, 2014

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Unique Ways to Participate at the 8th International Research Conference on Adolescents and Adults with FASD

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The 8th International Research Conference on Adolescents and Adults with FASD is coming up from April 18th to 21st in Vancouver, BC. There are some great opportunities for people to contribute to the conference this year. Here are two ways you can take part:

1) “This Is Me” is a poster format presentation that will showcase the work of teens and adults who have FASD. The conference invites individuals with FASD to share photos, poetry, artwork, written personal stories, crafts, opinion pieces (what you think about something that is important to you or to others), ideas for change, and any other topic or idea that can be displayed on a poster. These posters will be exhibited at the conference and everyone attending will be able to see them.

2) FASD Marketplace: This year, the conference is also looking to provide a marketplace area for teens and adults who wish to sell art and craft products they have made. Sellers are responsible for their own items. If you wish to sell your work, please contact Cynthia at cynthia.ipce@ubc.ca or at 604.822.7524 ahead of time so that a space can be arranged for you.

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For more information about the posters and marketplace click here and for more information about the conference click here

FASD: Top Articles of 2017

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CanFASD staff, researchers, and Family Advisory Committee members worked together in selecting certain articles to highlight some of the work that has been published over the last year in the field of FASD. Over 520 papers published on FASD in 2017 were narrowed down to a final list of 35 that focus on CanFASD’s areas of emphasis in FASD prevention, intervention, diagnosis, social justice, child welfare, and family collaboration. Additional consideration for what constituted the “top” articles included: generalizability to Canadians, influence on practice or policy, novelty, scientific rigour, and media attention. For a PDF version of the final document please click here:

Top Papers of 2017 FINAL 

Thanks Canfasd!

 

Cannabis Use During Pregnancy

Effects of Cannabis Use during Pregnancy

The Canadian government plans to legalize cannabis by July 1, 2018. With the impending legalization of cannabis, it is important to note that the legal use of cannabis does not necessarily make it safe. There is no known safe amount of cannabis use during pregnancy.

Currently, there is limited Canadian data about the prevalence of cannabis use during pregnancy. Cannabis use among women in Canada is on the rise, with approximately 11% of women of childbearing age reporting cannabis use in the past year according to Health Canada (2013). Cannabis use is high among young women and men of childbearing age; 29.7% of individuals age 20-24 years report past year use. It is estimated that about 5% of pregnant women use illicit drugs during pregnancy, though it is not known what percentage use cannabis specifically.

Research on cannabis use during pregnancy demonstrates some potential negative outcomes associated with heavy use (one or more joints per day). Cannabis use during pregnancy may:

• Affect the ability to become pregnant as a result of changes in the menstrual cycle for women and lower sperm count and poorer sperm quality in men

• Increase the risk of preterm birth

• Lead to lower birth weight of the baby

• Be associated with longer-term developmental effects in children, adolescents, and adults including decreases in memory function, attention, and reasoning and problem solving skills, and increases in hyperactive behaviour and future substance use

Click to read more: Cannabis-Use-and-Pregnancy-Policy-Alert

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Retrieved from https://canfasd.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/35/2017/06/Cannabis-Use-and-Pregnancy-Policy-Alert.pdf

Research on Alcohol in Pregnancy

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By Jeyashree Sundaram, MBA

Globally, most clinical and government rules advise pregnant women to refrain from drinking alcohol during pregnancy because of possible unfavorable consequences on the pregnancy outcomes. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes pregnant women as a group that needs special care, as they are predominantly at risk of adverse effects of alcohol.

Credit: Paradise On Earth/ Shutterstock.com

Antenatal or prenatal alcohol exposure may cause either physical, psychological and/or behavioral disabilities in the newborn, defined as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Fetal alcohol syndrome represents the final stage of FASD.

Alcohol consumption

The frequency of alcohol consumption during pregnancy differs among various studies and countries, revealing differences in culture and communal approaches towards drinking. Most women are found to abstain from drinking alcohol as soon as they become aware of their pregnancy, or after they have started to plan for one.

In a systemic review in 2011, researchers investigated alcohol-consuming predictors all over the world based on the population and prenatal settings during pregnancy.

The two most common factors for use of alcohol during pregnancy were identified by women who had a higher consumption of alcohol previous to pregnancy and victims of abuse or violence. The other factors that led to alcohol drinking were upper social status referred to as socio-demographic factor and psychiatric indications such as anxiety and depression.

Drinking alcohol before pregnancy

The prototypes of pre-pregnancy drinking have been considered as a predictor for influencing alcohol drinking among pregnant women. In the case of pre-pregnancy drinking, a woman may not be aware of her pregnancy, specifically if it is unplanned, but later when she comes to know about it, the consumption of alcohol is reduced.

A research study in Canada investigated a group of women who had newly delivered a baby. The rate of alcohol consumption was acquired for three distinct time periods: six months before pregnancy, period before the recognition of pregnancy, and the period after confirmation of pregnancy. Nearly 80% of women stated drinking alcohol before pregnancy, 50% reported pre-pregnancy recognition, and 18% post-pregnancy recognition.

Of these, some women had indulged in binge drinking prior to or after knowing that they were pregnant. From the study, it is clear that almost all women are sensitive about the risks of consuming alcohol while pregnant, and many had prevented themselves from alcohol intake after pregnancy recognition.

Intake of alcohol during pregnancy and their risks

Alcohol acts as a teratogen in babies born to mothers who had consumed alcohol during pregnancy. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence emphasizes to avoid consuming alcohol in the first trimester of pregnancy, as this period is the most strongly connected with a higher risk of miscarriage, fetal growth, preterm birth, and low born weight.

Alcohol consumed reaches the fetus through the placenta and causes almost even absorptions in both the mother and the baby. Hence, women preparing to become pregnant and pregnant mothers are strictly advised not to drink alcohol.

Effects on fetal development

Prenatal exposure to alcohol during pregnancy shows its impacts in the normal development of the fetus. Proofs from several animal studies have revealed that disruption in the processes of fetal development occurs through numerous mechanisms.

These disruptions are found in cellular metabolisms like modified use and mobilization of glucose, DNA synthesis and protein suppression, oxidative stress, damage in cell acquisition, dysregulated gene expression, break in interactions between cells, intervention in cell signaling pathways, cell damage or death, and modified placental function or hypoxia.

Child neurodevelopment

In 2013, a research was conducted on the association of mild to binge alcohol consumption with neuropsychological disorders.

The study was carried out in children aged from 6 months to 14 years. Among them the association of alcohol drinking and cognitive function was assessed, which demonstrated that the offspring of mothers involved in binge consumption at the time of pregnancy scored less on cognitive function tests than children of mothers who did not consume alcohol during pregnancy.

Unlike binge antenatal exposure to alcohol, exposure to mild and moderate alcohol drinking during pregnancy was not allied with cognition. No evidence was noticed on association of prenatal exposure to mild or moderate alcohol consumption with visual or motor development, language skills, attention, and cognition; it also did not provide confirmation on the safe quantity of alcohol that can be consumed while pregnant.

Sources:

  1. www.hpa.org.nz/…/Drinking%20during%20pregnancy-lit%20review.pdf
  2. jech.bmj.com/content/jech/early/2014/02/11/jech-2013-202934.full.pdf
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22413723
  4. journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0042710
  5. www.bma.org.uk/…/fetal-alcohol-spectrum-disorders-report-feb2016.pdf
  6. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acer.12214/full

Retrieved from https://www.news-medical.net/health/Research-on-Alcohol-in-Pregnancy.aspx

FASD: LET’S MOVE FROM SHAME TO BLAME, TO SUPPORT AND CARE – VIDEO SERIES

Myles Himmelreich lives with FASD and is a motivational speaker and advocate.  In this video from the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute, Myles says, “My mom loved me. When talking about FASD, there is often shame and blame. That does not help anyone. The best way to help moms and people living with FASD is to provide support and understanding.”

Thanks to Saskachewan Prevention Institute for making this video available.

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