FASworld Canada

FASworld Canada

September 09, 2014 06:00 ET

Pregnant Pause Raises Awareness About Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Nearly 30% of Expectant Mothers Still Drink Alcohol While Pregnant

Prenatal Exposure to Alcohol Can Permanently Damage the Baby's Brain

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 9, 2014) - A "pregnant" flash mob descended upon Yonge and Dundas today at 9:00 a.m., on the 9th day of the 9th month, to support Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day (#FASDay). The event was initiated fifteen years ago, by Toronto's own Bonnie Buxton and Brian Philcox of FASWorld.com to remind everyone that a woman should avoid alcohol during the nine months of pregnancy. FASday is now observed in every time zone around the world.

"Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are the most common and most expensive mental disorders in the industrialized world," says Brian Philcox, Chair and Co-Founder of FASworld. "They effect at least 1 in 100 Canadians. Yet, they are 100 percent preventable - by abstaining from alcohol while pregnant."

However, it is estimated that nearly 30 percent of women still drink alcohol while pregnant.

According to government reports, alcohol causes more damage to the developing baby's brain than any other substance including tobacco, cocaine, marijuana and heroin. Some alcohol-related neurodevelopment disorders that fall under this spectrum include learning disabilities, impulsivity, lying, stealing, tantrums, violence, aggression and being highly addictive. A child damaged by prenatal alcohol will likely struggle with school, health, employment and justice system issues - costing society approximately $2 million in his or her lifetime.

"We started the first FASDay on 9/9/99 to remind women around the world that during the nine months of pregnancy, it's best to abstain from alcohol," says Bonnie. "Yet, every day, there are more babies born with FASD than HIV, Down Syndrome and Spina Bifida combined. There is no safe amount, no safe kind and no safe time when it comes to alcohol and pregnancy."

The LCBO has also partnered with FASworld recently to promote alcohol-free pregnancies with signage in all 640 stores. "This collaboration and support reinforces the message - alcohol and pregnancy don't mix," says Brian.

Brian and Bonnie are adoptive parents of Colette - who has a diagnosis of Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopment Disorder. Bonnie shared her family's personal struggle in her book, "Damaged Angels: A Mother Discovers the Terrible Cost of Alcohol in Pregnancy."

Post and share FASworld's 30-second video PSA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQVpcwYDvWg&feature=youtu.be

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