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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

Reports & Publications - Annual Report 2004

Promoting Healthy Pregnancy And Child Development 

Submitted by Denise Kall, RN, BN, Public Health Nurse

FETAL ALCOHOL SPECTRUM DISORDER: Each year at 9:09a.m. on the ninth day of the ninth month, communities around the world are asked to remember that during the nine months of pregnancy, alcohol can be very dangerous to the baby. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause permanent brain damage to a baby. There is no known safe amount or time that alcohol can be consumed during pregnancy. Prenatal exposure to alcohol affects one in 100 births.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is the umbrella term used to describe the range of disabilities that may affect the baby. The Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Coalition of Leeds, Grenville & Lanark has worked to increase awareness about FASD, which can occur in all cultures and levels of society. Activities include a pamphlet, a workshop for professionals, and participation in a province-wide campaign. To recognize International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Day, pocket flashlights were distributed to women of childbearing age across Leeds, Grenville & Lanark.

POST PARTUM DEPRESSION: The Baby Blues affect 50 to 80 % of new mothers. This can occur within the first 3 to 5 days after the birth of the baby. Women's moods may shift quickly from being happy to very tearful. The Blues are usually gone within two weeks. Postpartum Depression can affect 10 to 20% of new mothers. The symptoms can begin anytime in the first year after the birth of the baby. There may be episodes of irritability, tearfulness and anxiety that can't be explained. Women may also experience sleep and appetite changes. These women will usually have difficulty coping with their day-to-day activities. Some women also experience symptoms of severe anxiety or obsessive-compulsive behaviour. Unlike the Baby Blues, Postpartum Depression does require medical attention. The Health Unit is working with community partners to provide Postpartum Depression Support groups in Leeds, Grenville & Lanark. Transportation is provided from any location within the tri-county area. Mothers are provided with on-site childcare while they attend the group.

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