Take the necessary steps to minimize the risk of having a child with FASDs. Find useful apps to help track your period, learn tips to prevent FASDs and find the resources you need to take charge of your health.
Alcohol use during pregnancy can cause a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. Half of all pregnancies in Alaska are unplanned. If you drink and do not regularly use a method to prevent pregnancy, you are at risk of exposing your developing baby to alcohol without knowing it.
It is important to use contraceptives to minimize your risk of unplanned pregnancy and FASDs, and the following resources provide options for contraception.
- PRJKT RUBY makes low-cost birth control options available to women in the U.S. through an online platform.
- Birth Control and UTI treatment prescriptions are available to be mailed in AK from Planned Parenthood.
Maven Clinic offers online consultations with certified nurse practitioners with appointments starting at $18.
Condoms are available for free in Alaska here:
Tips to Prevent FASDs
Download an app to keep track of your menstrual cycle so you know when to expect your period and can recognize if you are late.
Know your status before drinking: pregnancy tests can be most effective up to 3 days before your next expected period. It is possible to receive a false negative even if you are pregnant, so if you have any doubts it is best to wait to drink until you know for sure.
To learn more about each stage of your monthly cycle, click here.
If you are pregnant, consider drinking a mocktail as an alternative to an alcoholic option. Find some delicious mocktail recipes here.
If you do have unprotected sex and have been drinking alcohol, there are options available. Talk to your medical provider about what option is right for you, including emergency contraception or abstaining from alcohol until you know for certain.
If you are trying to get pregnant, for the safety of your baby, don’t drink alcohol from conception to delivery. Vital development of your baby occurs before most women know they are pregnant, including brain and spine development. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to severe physical problems and problems with behavior and learning.
Do not drink while pregnant. There is no safe amount of alcohol to consume while pregnant. If you are pregnant, click here.
Make a plan with a friend to limit the number of drinks you have at any one time to 2 and “buddy up” to keep your goal.
If you are not using birth control and are drinking alcohol, consider drinking only in the stages of your cycle before ovulation is likely.
Keeping track of your menstrual cycle can be difficult. With how hectic and stressful life can be, the last thing you want is to worry about an unplanned pregnancy. Luckily, there are apps you can download to keep track of your cycle so you know when to expect your period and can recognize if you are late. The following apps do just that.
- Period Tracker Lite is a simple, easy to use app. It lets you know when your period is due and when you’re ovulating, and you can even let it know which days you were intimate with your partner.
- Natural Cycles app is a period tracker, ovulation calendar and pregnancy calculator rolled into one. Based on your body’s basal temperature, the app will tell you when you ovulate.
- Glow tracks your period, mood, ovulation, medication and PMS.
- Kindara calls itself “the world’s most sophisticated and accurate fertility app,” and it does have some complex features beyond just basic fertility tracking - it also includes cycle-related charts.
- Flo Period Tracker is an ovulation calendar, period tracker and pregnancy calculator that uses machine learning (a form of artificial intelligence) to reliably predict menstruation and ovulation.
From learning how to track your period to understanding which birth control method is right for you, here are additional resources to help you answer any questions.
If you have a problem quitting alcohol, talk to your medical provider before considering getting pregnant. You may need professional help to determine your level of dependence with alcohol and to develop a treatment plan that will work for you.
These programs are available in Alaska:
- Alaska 2-1-1 is a free and confidential resource that connects you to vital services and support programs in your community, including those for recovery and preventing the factors that contribute to substance and alcohol abuse.
- Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step recovery program for alcohol abuse.
- Reproductive Health Clinic - Municipality of Anchorage A public health clinic that includes family planning (contraception), annual pelvic and breast exams and evaluations for concerns relating to public health. Urine pregnancy tests are available at the L Street Clinic.
- National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD)