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Preventing FASD

By weaving accurate information about alcohol and pregnancy into the public consciousness and tying it all together with practical advice for preventing FASD, we help unravel myths and misinformation while developing the understanding, acceptance, opportunities and care people with FASD deserve.

We build awareness and promote prevention of FASD through community outreach, targeted campaigns and special events. For example:

  • Our Network Coordinator has assumed the leadership role in developing and rolling out The Prevention Conversation – a new province-wide major initiative in support of the FASD 10-Year Strategic Plan
  • Through First Steps (PCAP), we provide funding for a home visitation advocate to support women at risk
  • We spearhead marketing campaigns to raise awareness of FASD and encourage women to choose alcohol-free pregnancies
  • In late 2013, we hired a Network Prevention Facilitator to engage key audiences across our region in The Prevention Conversation – a province-wide initiative aimed at reducing the incidence of FASD

The Prevention Conversation

A baby’s brain and nervous system are vulnerable to damage from alcohol consumption in pregnancy; drinking at any point during pregnancy can result in lifelong disabilities. It’s simply safest not to drink alcohol during pregnancy.

Many underlying factors may impel a woman to drink during pregnancy – from lack of knowledge about the risks to social pressures to alcohol dependence and untreated mental health problems.

Adverse life events, gender-based violence, trauma, stress, social isolation and a partner’s drinking have all been linked to higher risks for alcohol-exposed pregnancies. Genetics, poverty, poor nutrition and lack of social support networks also affect drinking and its consequences.

Together, these factors make FASD prevention a highly complex issue that requires a multifaceted, interdisciplinary approach.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): The Prevention Conversation Project

This project The Prevention Conversation: A Shared Responsibility’ focuses on engaging communities in conversations about drinking during pregnancy or drinking before a woman even knows they are pregnant.  The project is based on the first and second levels of the Four-Part Model of Prevention (PHAC, 2008).

It is important for women and their partners to have access to information and services related to prenatal alcohol use. The communication strategy and messaging component of the project will focus on raising public awareness of the negative effects of binge drinking during the early stages of pregnancy.  As outlined in the Four-Part Model of Prevention, this first level will utilize community development strategies to raise awareness among the target populations, highlight support mechanisms and promote involvement by community members and primary care providers (PHAC, 2008).

Supporting primary care providers to develop the necessary skills to engage in non-judgmental, empathetic conversations about alcohol use is paramount in the prevention of FASD. The second project component will focus on community engagement as a means to train and support primary care providers in the use of screening tools and techniques to engage women in the ‘prevention conversation’.  Level two of the Four-Part Model of Prevention promotes the use of collaborative discussion on alcohol use and related risks with all women of child-bearing age and their partners (PHAC 2008). If you would like more information on the FASD Prevention Conversation, A Shared Responsibility project, please click on www.preventionconversation.org

Download Info Sheet 1 – Why do some women drink during pregnancy?

Download Info Sheet 2 – It’s safest not to drink during pregnancy.

Download Info Sheet 3 – Alcohol, Contraception and Preconception.

Download Info Sheet 4 – Treatment and care for pregnant women who use alcohol and/or other drugs.

Download Info Sheet 5 – Pregnancy, alcohol and trauma-informed practice.

Download Info Sheet 6 – Alcohol, pregnancy and partner support.


1)     Increase the capacity of health and social service providers across the province to educate and support women and their partners using evidence-based practices to screen for alcohol use in pregnancy and intervene appropriately and effectively.

2)     Increase awareness among women of child-bearing age and their partners about the effects of binge drinking during pregnancy with a focus on early stage when pregnancy status may not be known.

3)     Increase knowledge of community resources available to women and their partners who may be concerned about alcohol consumption during early pregnancy.

4)     Create community connections between the health and social services and the FASD Service Networks to develop wrap around services.

Business Outcomes:

1)     Health and social service providers across Alberta have increased knowledge, skills and confidence to effectively discuss alcohol use in pregnancy and intervene appropriately and effectively with women of child-bearing age and their partners.

2)     Health and social service providers create a safe environment for women to discuss alcohol consumption during early pregnancy.

3)     Women of child-bearing age are informed and aware of the risks associated with alcohol use in pregnancy in a non-judgemental way and of community resources and supports that are available to them.

4)     Consistent messages are provided to women and their partners/families about the risks of alcohol consumption in pregnancy with a focus on early stages when pregnancy status may not be known.

5)     These strategies will contribute to prevention and mitigate against the lifelong costs of FASD.

Target Populations:

Primary: Health and social service providers that work with women of child-bearing age across Alberta.

Secondary: Women and their partners of child-bearing age in Alberta

For more information please contact:

Dr. Debbie Deak

Prevention Conversation Facilitator

South Alberta FASD Network


(403) 330-8897