FASDay: A Bell Concordance or a minute of reflection

International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day is just under a month away. Here are some ideas and planning suggestions from FASworld and the Red Shoes Rock team on how to plan a Bell Concordance or ideas for a minute of reflection. These can be group activities or a reflection you undertake on your own if your community is not hosting an event near you.

The FASD Bell Concordance

What is the Bell Concordance?

From the Oxford English Dictionary:

Concordance: The fact of agreeing or being concordant; agreement, harmony…. An agreeable or satisfactory blending of musical sounds or notes; harmony.)

The Bell Concordance is relatively easy to organize, and many have been held to celebrate International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day. This can be done inside or outside a church, with ringing church bells or carillons, in a school, with children ringing tiny bells, in a park, ringing wind chimes or using a cell phone.

From FASworld:

“On September 9, 1999, bells around the world marked the “magic minute” at 9:09 a.m., and we named this ringing of bells, “The FASD Bell Concordance.” It was so successful that other organizations have picked up this term and copied it!

We (Bonnie Buxton, Teresa Kellerman, and Brian Philcox) came up with the bell idea as there is a purity about bells that reminds us of the innocence of children. As well, bells are historically associated with warnings, alarms, marking important moments, and simply pealing for the joy of connecting with the community. FASDay is all of these things.

On FASDay 2000, even more bells and other percussion instruments were played – ranging from the first mission bell in New Zealand to the historic 56 bell carillon in Cape Town, South Africa, to tiny bells rung by school children, and wind chimes and rain sticks played by native Canadians.”

(Read more…)

Alcohol exposure during pregnancy linked with dose-dependent increase in miscarriage risk

Consuming alcohol during pregnancy leads to a 19% greater risk of miscarriage compared with not using alcohol, according to a new study led by Vanderbilt researchers.

Published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, the study also found that for alcohol exposure of less than five drinks per week, each additional drink per week during pregnancy was associated with a 6% increase in miscarriage risk.


“Since alcohol is one of the most common exposures in early pregnancy, it’s critical to understand how consumption relates to miscarriage. Adverse pregnancy outcomes, like fetal alcohol syndrome, are often associated in popular culture with heavy consumption. However, our meta-analysis indicates even a modest amount of alcohol use has a meaningful impact on miscarriage risk.”

Alex Sundermann, MD/PhD student, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and the study’s lead investigator


It is thought that alcohol use increases miscarriage risk by increasing oxidative stress for the fetus, causing cellular damage. Sundermann became interested in the link between alcohol exposure and miscarriage after a prior study from her lab, led by Katherine Hartmann, MD, PhD, found that more than half of women use alcohol in the early stages of pregnancy prior to having a positive pregnancy test, regardless of whether the pregnancy was planned.

Sundermann’s most recent work involved a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies published between 1970 and 2019 about alcohol exposure and miscarriage. Twenty-four studies met the criteria for inclusion in the review, representing data from more than 231,000 pregnant women.

The meta-analysis, which is the first pooled measure of alcohol use and miscarriage, demonstrates exposure in pregnancy is associated with a dose-dependent increase in miscarriage risk.

The systematic review also revealed important gaps in the existing literature, including a lack of knowledge about how the timing of alcohol exposure is linked to risk. (Read more…)

Depression is the largest factor for substance use during pregnancy, research finds

The study is the first in Canada to focus on the predictors for substance use in expectant mothers. Western researchers have found that depression is the primary risk factor for substance use during pregnancy, and is more important than education, income or age. Associate professor Jaime Seabrook says that the main takeaway from the findings is to advocate for more mental health resources for expectant mothers.

Researchers at Western University have released a new study showing depression is the primary risk factor for cannabis, tobacco and alcohol use during pregnancy.

According to the research, pregnant women who suffered depression were 2.6 times more likely to use cannabis and twice as likely to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol while pregnant.

Analyzing data from over 25,000 pregnant women across southwestern Ontario, the study is the largest of its kind in Canada to show that depression during pregnancy is the main risk factor for cannabis, tobacco and alcohol use. It was even higher than education, age or income factors in their findings.

One of the researchers, Jamie Seabrook, an associate professor at Brescia University College, says there’s currently very limited research on predictors of drug use during pregnancy.

“We know that alcohol, cannabis and tobacco are the most commonly used, and we know that all three substances are associated with adverse birth outcomes,” he said.

“But we really don’t know a whole lot [especially in Canada] on what actually predicts alcohol, cannabis and tobacco use during pregnancy in the first place.”

Seabrook hopes that the findings can open up a much-needed discussion about mental health for pregnant mothers to not only improve their overall health, but also the health of their baby.

“Because depression was the top predictor of all three substances, we really need to advocate for mental health programs, ideally very early in pregnancy or even pre-pregnancy, to target these women who are at risk,” he said. (Read more…)

Widowed foster dad seeks a new ‘normal’ for foster kids

Story of a foster dad with children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).  He is a Manitoba foster dad with a story he wanted to tell. And so, when CBC Manitoba created a form for our audience to “Pitch a Story,” he was one of the first to ask to share his.

Below, in his own words, is his story. The CBC has agreed not to identify him, to protect the identity of those in his care.

In 2002 I met a lady online. I asked her what she did for a living and she told me she was a foster parent. Thinking I knew what that was, I was impressed.

By Valentine’s 2003 we were planning a summer wedding. In August of 2003 I became a husband. I also, in that moment, became a foster dad to her now nine-month-old foster son.

The first five years of marriage were hardly typical for a new family. Because of my job at the time, I was gone 25 days a month. We built a house and were instantly bumped up to four foster placements with the agency. By 2004, we had a little brother for our boy, and our other two spots were a revolving door of emergency placements, temporary shelter and short-term kids, just needing a place to stay for a bit. (Read more...)

CanFASD: FASD Awareness Month Toolkit

FASD Awareness Month Toolkit — September 9th is International FASD Awareness Day. FASD Day was first celebrated in 1999. It is a day devoted to raising awareness of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) to improve prevention of FASD and diagnosis and support for individuals with FASD.

Throughout the month of September, events are held across Canada in recognition of FASD Day. However, one day is not enough. At CanFASD, we recognize September as FASD Month and encourage all our followers to continue to work towards increased awareness of FASD throughout FASD Month and beyond. (Read more and download the toolkit….)

Lanark County support group for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder parents seeks housing solutions

A support group is offering hope for parents of children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

Rob More, a teacher and author who lives in Montague Township, has three adopted children, all of whom have FASD. He was on hand for the launch of the new tiny home, a project between Cornerstone Landing Youth Services and Algonquin College’s Perth campus on Wednesday, July 24.

“They’re highly functioning enough that they don’t need the dependent housing,” he said. “There are certainly things that they can do. But they can’t do everything … They can’t do independent housing either.”

More was handing out business cards promoting the Rural FASD (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder) Support Network, which has 71 families and 441 members in eastern Ontario. (Read more…)

Number of children born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder on the rise

Why? There are many factors, but let’s start with some startling statistics.
Here in the U.S., one in 20 kids has some effects from prenatal alcohol exposure. That’s five percent.
And, one out of every 9 women admits to drinking while pregnant. That’s just those admitting it.
And if you think you know who it is…think again.

“The women that are most likely to continue to drink during pregnancy, are college educated women, making over 50-thousand-dollars a year,” says Sara Messelt. (Read more…)

Is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding?

Is it safe to drink alcohol and breastfeed? As physicians, we have always cautioned patients not to. As mothers, we look forward to the occasional glass of wine. We also know that drinking while breastfeeding remains a controversial and very personal choice, one for which many mothers find themselves judged by friends and family.

Historically, beer was made very differently than it is today. Beer companies marketed low-alcohol beers to women to stimulate appetite, increase their strength and enhance milk production. Barley used in beer production contains a polysaccharide that can enhance breast milk production by increasing prolactin secretion in nursing mothers.

On the other hand, alcohol may also inhibit breast milk letdown and slow the flow of milk to the baby due to a blunted prolactin response required for breast milk production. An older study published in Developmental Psychobiology also found that infants consumed less milk during the four-hour testing sessions in which nursing mothers drank alcoholic beer compared to mothers who drank nonalcoholic beer. (Read more….)

Government of Canada supports projects to address and prevent Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in Canada

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a significant lifelong developmental disability affecting many Canadians. Individuals with FASD experience some degree of challenges in their daily lives, and need support with motor skills, physical health, learning, memory, attention, emotional regulation and social skills to reach their full potential. Each individual with FASD is unique and has both strengths and challenges.

Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced more than $1.8 million in funding over four years to support new projects focused on increasing public awareness and understanding of FASD, and the risks of prenatal alcohol exposure.

These projects are being funded under the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)’s Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder National Strategic Projects Fund. The Fund aims to prevent FASD and to improve the outcomes for those affected by FASD through the development of knowledge, tools and resources.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Government of Canada’s FASD Initiative. Over the past 20 years, the Government of Canada has invested more than $27 million in projects across the country to support individuals living with FASD, their families and caregivers. This funding also assists health care and service providers in preventing prenatal alcohol use, and recognizing, diagnosing and treating individuals living with FASD. (More info…)

Waiter admits he secretly served virgin drinks to a pregnant lady

Waiter admits he secretly served virgin drinks to a pregnant lady who ordered ALCOHOLIC cocktails and sparks a furious debate on Reddit – so do YOU think he did the right thing?

  • The server took to Reddit on Wednesday, July 24, to detail the situation
  • They said a group of women in their late 20s were eating and drinking at the restaurant where they work
  • At one stage, the waiter said they overheard one of the women saying she was pregnant, but was drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Concerned about the risk of the pregnant lady drinking alcohol, the waiter had the bartender make virgin drinks for the woman without her knowing
  • The waiter was removed from the work schedule by their boss, who said the server ‘could get the restaurant in serious trouble for discrimination. (Plus d’infos…)