Alcohol, pregnancy and your mental health during COVID-19

Many Canadians are stressed and anxious because of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. It is normal for us to feel this way. But it’s important that we use healthy strategies to cope with our stress.

Some Canadians are turning to alcohol and other substances to cope. Alcohol is not healthy for our bodies, our minds, or our pregnancies. Alcohol can make us feel more anxious or depressed, can make us more vulnerable to illness like COVID-19, and can impact our physical health in the long term.

Mixing increased alcohol consumption with unprotected sex increases the risk of having an alcohol exposed pregnancy. This can lead to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). FASD is a lifelong disability that affects the brain and body of people who were exposed to alcohol in the womb. Each person with FASD has both strengths and challenges and will need special supports to help them succeed with many different parts of their daily lives.

Awareness and support are important to prevent FASD. We’ve created a new two-page handout that talks about alcohol, pregnancy, and mental health during COVID-19. We are asking women and partners to reduce their risk of FASD by going alcohol free if they are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. If they are not trying to get pregnant, we are reminding women that it is important to use reliable contraception.

This handout also provides resources on healthy coping strategies to deal with stress and anxiety and connects you with organizations across Canada that can help with mental health and substance use problems.

Share this resource far and wide! Include it on your website, in your newsletter, post it on your social media, and talk about it with your friends. Let’s promote the health and well-being of present and future Canadians.

This resource is available in English, French, Spanish, and Mandarin. An Arabic version is available on request.

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