What is FASD

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. Mothers do not drink alcohol to hurt their babies, but alcohol can have effects on the baby’s development.  These effects may include physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications.

How do you get FASD?

Prenatal alcohol exposure is the only cause of FASD.

When a woman is pregnant everything she eats and drinks goes to the baby.  Alcohol crosses easily into the baby’s body from the mom.  When alcohol is in the baby’s system the baby gets less oxygen and fewer nutrients.  Oxygen and nutrients are important for the baby’s brain and for the baby to grow.  Alcohol is a terratogen that can damage the baby’s brain and growth.

How many people have FASD?

FASD is found anywhere people drink alcohol.  It is found right here in our communities and throughout the world.  Approximately 46,000 Albertans are living with FASD, and each year, an estimated 500 Albertan children are born with the disorder.  It is difficult to tell how many people have FASD because not everyone gets a diagnosis, (approx. 95% of people are undiagnosed).  According to Statistics Canada: 9 in 1,000 births in Canada will be FASD.