Men and women of all ages will be showing their “baby bumps” for the 13th annual Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Day “Pregnant Pause” at Toronto’s Union Station - and around the world - for 99 seconds on September 9. The ninth day of the ninth month at 9:09 a.m. provides an annual reminder to everyone that during the nine months of pregnancy, women should abstain from alcohol.
“There is no safe time and no safe amount of alcohol in pregnancy. The message is clear today - alcohol and pregnancy do not mix,” said Dr. David McKeown, the Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto.
FASD is an umbrella term used to describe the range of physical, cognitive, learning and behavioural impairments that can occur in individuals whose mothers consumed alcohol during pregnancy.
According to Health Canada, FASD is the most common developmental disability, occurring in about one of every 100 births. In Canada, the economic impact is estimated to be $5.3 billion annually for special education, mental health, social services, addictions and the justice system.
Research indicates that early diagnosis and access to appropriate intervention tends to reduce mental health and addiction problems, school disruption, family breakdown, conflicts with the law, homelessness and unemployment, all of which are common in adolescents and adults with FASD.
To reduce the rate of FASD, it is essential that pregnant women are provided with support and information in an effort to increase their awareness of the harmful effects of using alcohol during pregnancy.
More information about the most common, most expensive, yet most preventable disability in the industrialized world is available at http://fasday.com.
For more information, please contact:
Catherine Snoddon, Children’s Aid Society of Toronto: 416-924-4640, CSnoddon@TorontoCAS.ca