With the holiday season comes festivities and parties, which can make avoiding alcohol a challenge for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive.
It can be difficult for pregnant women who are constantly being told to “just take a sip,” or “half a glass is fine,” and that “one or two won’t hurt,” however the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) is out with a reminder that no amount of alcohol is proven to be safe.
The AGLC launched its Dry 9 movement on Tuesday, to create greater awareness of the effects of alcohol and pregnancy.
It’s not exactly news that the two don’t mix but the AGLC says the prevailing attitude that “a little bit is OK” and “moderation is the best thing” is a reminder that the discussion still needs to take place.
“With so many differing views; some that are conflicting, Dry 9 represents an exciting opportunity to provide information, resources and support for those looking to be alcohol-free to assist them in ensuring a healthy pregnancy,” Alain Maisonneuve, AGLC president and CEO, said.
“Whether it’s the holiday season or any time of year, we want to encourage people and their support networks to sign up for a Dry 9 and let others know about their healthy choice.”
Alcohol is a proven to cause birth defects, including Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), and there is no known safe amount.
The AGLC released three Dry 9 promotional videos, inducing one aimed at partners of women who are pregnant or trying to become so.
Newlyweds Jesse and Amber Kupina are planning to start a family and were two of the speakers at the Dry 9 launch Tuesday morning.
Kupina owns The Ranch Roadhouse country nightclub and Central Social Hall bar and restaurant, where the campaign was launched. He is constantly surrounded by opportunities to drink, but plans to give up alcohol to support his wife.
“I truly believe that, one, even though she’s having the baby, we’re having the baby — so I just equate it to supporting my partner. If she was trying to do a cleanse or trying to eat less pizza, I probably wouldn’t bring home pizza every day,” the bar owner said Tuesday morning.
“We just want to have the healthiest baby possible,” his wife Amber said. “I went to school studying nutrition, so it’s really important to me — the impact that even the food that we eat.
“So it’s not really a hard question: we’re a team, so if we’re going to have a family together, we want to do the whole thing together.”
Kupina doesn’t look at giving up booze as a sacrifice, but rather, a chance to do something different.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever – since I was 18 – had nine months off of drinking,” he admitted. Kupina said while he enjoys food and alcohol, he is also into exercise and physical fitness.
“I think this is a really good opportunity for me as well to, selfishly, to get that extra level of health for those nine months,” he said.
The other two videos released by the AGLC were aimed at friends of pregnant women and older generations.
“It’s very exciting because she can grow that little zygote to its full potential. And that’s way more exciting than a wine night, or ladies night, or a bachelorette party — you should still invite her to those, of course. Just don’t ask her to drink any booze,” an actor says in one of the promo videos.
Another video is aimed at older generations who claim back in their day, a lot of women drank while pregnant and their kids turned out fine.
To encourage Albertans to “do a Dry 9,” the AGLC is offering incentives to those who sign up online, including:
- a free Dry 9 t-shirt (for the first 500 pregnant women that register)
- monthly tips on how to handle situations with alcohol when pregnant and various facts on what stages of baby development
- mocktail of the month recipes
- Dry 9 videos to send to family, friends and spouses to get them to support you while you do your Dry 9
- an interactive website (Dry9.ca) which in the future will feature an online community forum to allow Dry 9 participants to share tips, ideas and support.
The Dry 9 movement is part of DrinkSense, an AGLC initiative to educate and raise awareness on responsible liquor consumption.