by Jyllian Cress, Mainland Mi’kmaq Community Coordinator - FASD project, CMM
September 9, of each year is International FASD Awareness Day. The ninth day of the ninth month was chosen to represent the nine months of pregnancy that a mother should stop drinking alcohol. The first FASD Awareness day was held in 1999. Since then communities all over Canada, The United States and across the world have used this day to share knowledge about FASD.
Since 1973 doctors have known that drinking alcohol during pregnancy harms the fetal brain leading to different delays in development and learning. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a condition that can happen when the biological mother drinks alcohol when she is pregnant. A women drinking alcohol when pregnant can cause brain damage and physical abnormalities in the fetus. There is no safe time, no safe type and no safe amount of alcohol for pregnant women to drink. Damage to the fetus from alcohol can occur at any point in the pregnancy so when a women finds out she is pregnant she should stop drinking alcohol.
FASD is the umbrella term that is used to describe the different disorders that alcohol can cause to the fetus. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is when the individual has both the brain damage and the physical facial features associated with being exposed to alcohol in the womb. The three facial features that can occur in FAS are eye slips that are smaller making the eyes appear smaller, the ridge above the upper lip is flattened and the upper lip is thinner. The brain damage that ha ...