FASD can be prevented.
FASD is a uniquely complex disability, but with the right supports, it can be prevented. While the research on FASD is rich in grey areas, a woman or gender diverse individual who avoids alcohol for the full term of their pregnancy runs no risk of having a child with FASD. “No thanks – I’m pregnant” is simply the best response.
No alcohol during pregnancy is safest.
We need to dispel the myth that FASD is something only chronic heavy drinkers need to worry about. Yes, the risk of FASD increases with the amount of alcohol woman and people who may become pregnant consumes while pregnant; but science has yet to quantify a “safe amount” of alcohol during pregnancy. This makes the decision to drink during pregnancy something of a gamble. Amid all the doubt and debate, one assertion is unequivocal: it’s safest not to drink alcohol during pregnancy.
FASD affects everyone.
Despite popular misconceptions, FASD occurs in all segments of society. It crosses all cultures and pays no heed to social standing or economic status. Alcohol use in pregnancy does not discriminate.
The impacts of FASD are widespread. It affects individuals, families and communities. It affects you, and it affects me. We can’t always put a face to the matter – FASD
can be a hidden disability that often goes undiagnosed – but its impacts are felt in schools, workplaces, social service networks, justice systems….
We’re all in this together.
Creating safety is crucial.
To effectively engage indivuals and their support networks in The Prevention Conversation, we must first create a climate in which they feel safe and free from judgement.
Managing the fear, confusion and social stigma that surround the issue of drinking alcohol during pregnancy is crucial to our success. Everyone deserves access to support without judgement or blame.
Relationships are important.
Most of the work of FASD prevention is relationship-based.
The Prevention Conversation cannot unfold effectively outside the framework of a relationship that’s trust-based, sincerely caring and openly supportive.
FASD prevention is complex.
On the surface, the prevention of FASD seems strikingly simple: avoiding alcohol during pregnancy completely eliminates the risk.
Yet the influences on drinking during pregnancy – the dynamics of addiction and mental health issues, the ripple effects of childhood trauma and abuse, the impacts of poverty and cultural identity, and so on – make the work of FASD prevention highly complex.
FASD encompasses a broad spectrum of effects. As such, diagnosis, assessment and the provision of care and support for those it affects are complex. Addressing the needs of individuals with FASD most often requires additional support in the health, social, educational and legal systems as well as in correctional services.