By Edmonton and area Fetal Alcohol Network Society on September 8, 2023 

As FASD Day approaches on September 9th, it is essential to recognize the importance of supporting women and gender diverse pregnant individuals and persons planning pregnancies in their journey towards alcohol-free pregnancies. By fostering understanding, reducing stigma, and providing support, we can make a positive impact on the well-being of individuals and families.

One crucial aspect of addressing FASD is acknowledging the unique challenges faced by women and gender diverse individuals. These challenges can include societal pressures, lack of access to healthcare, and inadequate support systems. Creating inclusive and supportive environments can empower individuals to make informed decisions about their health.

Reducing stigma is also vital. The stigma associated with prenatal alcohol exposure often discourages open conversations and prevents individuals from seeking help and support. It is crucial to shift the narrative from blame to understanding, focusing on prevention, education, and support. By de-stigmatizing the issue, we can create an atmosphere where individuals feel safe and empowered to ask for assistance without fear of judgment.

Albertans, let us come together and take action to support alcohol-free pregnancies and address the underlying factors contributing to prenatal alcohol exposure. Here are some ways you can make a difference:

  1. Educate Yourself and Others: Learn about FASD and the risks associated with alcohol use during pregnancy. Share this knowledge with friends, family, and community members to raise awareness and encourage conversations about prevention.
  2. Promote Supportive Environments: Create a safe and inclusive space where women and gender diverse individuals can openly discuss their concerns and seek support without fear of judgment or stigma. Encourage healthcare providers, employers, and community organizations to adopt policies that prioritize the well-being of pregnant individuals and support alcohol-free pregnancies.
  3. Advocate for Accessible Healthcare: Support initiatives that increase access to healthcare services, including prenatal care, mental health support, and addiction treatment. Advocate for policies that ensure affordable and equitable healthcare for all, addressing the underlying factors contributing to prenatal alcohol exposure.
  4. Challenge Stigma: Engage in conversations that challenge the stigma surrounding prenatal alcohol exposure. Encourage empathy, understanding, and support for individuals who may be struggling with alcohol use during pregnancy. By reducing stigma, we can foster an environment of compassion and promote help-seeking behavior.

Supporting alcohol-free pregnancies requires collective efforts from individuals, communities, and organizations. By working together, we can create a society that prioritizes the health and well-being of women and gender diverse individuals, and supports them in making informed decisions regarding their pregnancies. On FASD Day, let us renew our commitment to reducing stigma, increasing awareness, and advocating for prevention.