Each year, Sept. 9 marks International FASD Awareness Day around the world. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a diagnostic term used to describe the impacts on the brain and body of individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol.
In Canada, up to four per cent of Canadians has FASD. It’s a lifelong disability where individuals will experience some degree of challenges in their daily living.
In Regina, the FASD community network hosted an awareness walk with the theme “change the conversation.” They hope to debunk some of the negative stigmas they say surround mothers and children dealing with FASD.
According to Joelle Schaefer, executive director of the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute, preventing FASD is complex. In Canada, alcohol is a normalized social activity. it’s often consumed at social events or at home when relaxing with friends and family.
“There is often a stigma around the mom and how she drank prenatally. There could be a lot of reasons why she drank prenatally, she might not have known she was pregnant. She might have issues with addictions. That is very difficult and challenging to deal with,” said Lisa Workman with the Regina FASD Community Network.
READ MORE: Too many Sask. moms drink during pregnancy
It can often be difficult to make lifestyle changes without the support of others.
The stigmas around alcohol and pregnancy may cause a woman to not talk about her alcohol use because she fears judgement or might be afraid of losing her children.
The FASD Awareness Network encourages family and friends to start healthy conversations on this topic.