“Dispensers at Yukon College, Dirty Northern pub”

“Dispensers at Yukon College, Dirty Northern pub”


By: Philippe Morin, CBC News, 29 March 2015

Accessed on: 29 March 2015

Commentary by: Sarah Cibart

A few weeks ago Whitehorse became home to a research project out of the University of Alaska Anchorage. The project, funded by the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society Yukon (FASSY), focuses on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD. A major part of the project involves pregnancy test dispensers in washrooms meant to encourage women to ensure they are not pregnant before they consume alcohol. The second piece of this project aims to provide women with education and support surrounding pregnancy and alcohol consumption. The dispenser with pregnancy tests also has a QR Code (smartphone scanner) which links to FASD resources and a survey. If the women complete the survey, they are entered to win a $15 iTunes gift card.

In this article the interviewer speaks with Jessica Fulmer, who lives with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and is a mother herself. Fulmer states that she would have found it much easier to take a pregnancy test in college had the washrooms offered an accessible, affordable, and discreet dispenser. “It is scary to learn you are pregnant”, said Fulmer, “this is one thing that will help break the stigma.”

Wendy Bradly, Director of FASSY, says the pregnancy test dispensers help normalize the process of testing for pregnancy. It is her hope that these dispensers become as normalized as condom dispensers in public washrooms. New and innovative methods of surveying ways to support women in FASD prevention are both valuable and groundbreaking.

“Baby or booze? GN sends explicit message to expectant Nunavut moms”

CLLICK HERE TO ACCESS ARTICLE: http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/stories/article/65674baby_or_the_bottle_gn_wants_to_starts_dialogue/

By: Sarah Rogers, NunatsiaqOnline, 24 September 2014

Accessed on: 1 October 2014

Commentry by: Robyn Morin

On September 9, 2014 the Government of Nunavut released a new ad campaign in recognition of International FASD Awareness Day (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder). The ad was created to bring awareness to the direct impact of alcohol consumption on an unborn fetus. The image on the poster is a silhouette of a pregnant woman and the unborn fetus. The woman is holding a bottle to her mouth and yellow liquid is pouring through her body directly to the fetus.

The ad is said to be targeting younger pregnant women as there is a high population of young females in Nunavut. The ad is in English and Inukitut.

Since its release, the ad is eliciting mixed reactions due to the visual image on the poster. Many people, from various professional backgrounds, have commented on how the image does not provide information on support services to pregnant woman especially youth that are pregnant. Instead, critics argue, the ad places blame on women without considering other factors that contribute to maternal drinking. Proponents argue the importance of the images as they bring awareness about the impact of alcohol consumption.

The goal of the Government of Nunavut was to bring awareness to the direct effect of alcohol consumption while pregnant. The ad has proven to be effective as conversations have occurred—whether in support or against the campaign, people are talking about FASD.

What are your thoughts? Does this ad campaign bring awareness to the direct effects of alcohol consumption or does the ad place blame solely on the women who is pregnant?

Fetal alcohol fight in Crow Wing arms itself with new tool

Fetal alcohol fight in Crow Wing arms itself with new tool

By: Pam Louwagie, StarTribune, 8 Feb 2014

Accessed on: 20 Feb 2014

Commentary by: Krystal Glowatski

A new FASD prevention initiative is coming out of Crow Wing County, through the nonprofit organization “Healthy Brains for Children.”  The group will be dispersing breathalyzers to pregnant girls and girls who are known to drink alcohol.  Incentives such as gift cards and cell phone minutes will be provided for these girls to stay abstinent from alcohol.

How will this idea work?  “A California company called SoberLink is donating the small, pink Breathalyzers that will fit inside a purse or backpack and carry the label “My Baby’s Breath.”  A mom-to-be in the program will get a text reminding her of a scheduled breath test and she’ll have 45 minutes to breathe into the device using a small tube. The device will take a photo of the girl and register her breath’s alcohol content, then send that information to a computer over a cellular network.  If alcohol is detected, parents, counselors and others will be notified.”

The idea was created based on the story of one Minnesota woman who used official police breathalyzer equipment during her pregnancy.  “Teresa Haberman said she’s grateful that county officials offered her the equipment in her home after she had legal troubles during her pregnancy. She needed help, she said, and the accountability helped her stay sober.”  This woman is still sober.

What do you think?  A brilliant idea to put an end to FASD?  An initiative that will help some women during their pregnancy?  Or a thoughtful initiative, but maybe not the most effective strategy?  Please share your thoughts!

Prenatal Exposure to Alcohol Disrupts Brain Circuitry: No Safe Level of Drinking During Pregnancy, Neuroscientist Says

Prenatal Exposure to Alcohol Disrupts Brain Circuitry : No Safe Level of Drinking During Pregnancy, Neuroscientist says

From: Science Daily (December 3, 2013) (Accessed December 6, 2013).

Commentary by Krystal Glowatski 

Despite recent research out of Europe contending that consuming alcohol during pregnancy does not have negative effects on children, this study argues quite the opposite.  What this issue really boils down to is the fact that while sometimes alcohol may effect a fetus, other times it may not – but why risk it?  We still do not know the full range of effects alcohol can have, the amount of alcohol (if any) that can be deemed “safe” during pregnancy, which term of pregnancy is most susceptible to the effects of alcohol, nor if certain types of alcohol have a larger impact than others.

Stated quite simply, and conservatively: “If you consume alcohol when you are pregnant you can disrupt the development of your baby’s brain,” said Kelly Huffman, assistant professor of psychology at UC Riverside and lead author of the study.  While drinking during pregnancy does not necessarily indicate the presence of FASD, drinking while pregnant does change the structure of the brain.  Perhaps one of the most straightforward statements on drinking while pregnant I have ever heard was stated in this article: “Would you put whiskey in your baby’s bottle? Drinking during pregnancy is not that much different…  If you ask me if you have three glasses of wine during pregnancy will your child have FASD, I would say probably not. If you ask if there will be changes in the brain, I would say, probably. There is no safe level of drinking during pregnancy.”

The fact that even minimal drinking can change the brain’s structure is powerful enough to serve as a warning to the masses.  While more research needs to be done to find out the intricacies of the dangers of alcohol to pregnant women and their babies, for now we know – even the smallest amount of alcohol can change the brain.