Preconception and Pregnancy | Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

Preconception and Pregnancy


Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

September 9 is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) awareness day.  This day was chosen so that on the ninth day of the ninth month of the year, the world will remember that during the nine months of pregnancy a woman should abstain from alcohol.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can result in restricted growth, facial abnormalities, and permanent brain damage for the baby.  The impact of alcohol exposure in pregnancy affects each person in different ways and can range in severity.  It's important to note however, that the effects of FASD are not always visible at birth as many people with FASD do not have physical symptoms.  Behaviour and learning problems such as speech and language delays, difficulty with attention and learning disabilities often don't appear until children get older.  FASD leaves many children, teens and adults struggling with depression and anxiety, experiencing difficulties with social interactions and relationships, as well as other aspects of their lives.

If you are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy, the safest choice is not to drink any alcohol.

If you drank alcohol before you knew you were pregnant, talk to your health care provider or call Motherisk at 1-877-327-4346 or visit

For more information, check out the links below.


Reproductive Life Planning

Did you know about 50 percent of pregnancies are not planned?  When pregnancies are planned, you have time to make sure you are healthy and prepared before you have a baby.

Would you like to become pregnant in the next year?  Yes, no ... unsure?  A reproductive life plan can help all individuals in their reproductive years to set personal goals and plan for the future whether or not you are planning a pregnancy.  It will help you think about things that you can do now to improve your health, protect your fertility and improve the health of a future baby.

Create your reproductive life plan and address any concerns with your health care provider.

Online tools:

Additional Resources:


Hastings Prince Edward Public Health provides a number of programs and services that support families throughout pregnancy.

Healthy Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a great time to think about your lifestyle and to make positive, healthy choices. Making healthy changes to your lifestyle and habits during pregnancy will improve your health, the health of your baby, and will benefit you and your family in the future. For more information, call our Child & Reproductive Health Infoline at 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 223.

Pregnancy Testing

We provide free pregnancy testing at our Sexual Health Clinics. If you think you may be pregnant, we will provide a urine test to confirm. We will also supply information about pregnancy, options, and birth control choices.

Prenatal Education

Expectant parents and support persons are encouraged to start prenatal education as soon as possible in their pregnancy. Visit our Prenatal Education page for more information.

Food for You:Food for Two

Food for You:Food for Two is a free, weekly, drop-in program for pregnant women and teens who may require extra support during pregnancy. You will learn about healthy eating, healthy pregnancy, breastfeeding, and caring for a newborn from our Dietitians and Nurses. Groceries, milk, and child care are provided, and transportation is available. Partners and/or support persons are welcome.
For more information, call our Child and Reproductive Health Infoline at 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 223.

Healthy Babies Healthy Children

Having a baby can be both an exciting and challenging time. You may have a lot of questions and need help preparing for and adjusting to life with a new baby. The Healthy Babies Healthy Children program provides home visits by public health nurses and home visitors to expectant mothers and new parents who need extra support and can benefit from the program.

Home visits help you learn about:

  • having a healthy pregnancy and birth
  • connecting with your baby
  • how children grow and develop as well as what you can do to help
  • being a parent
  • breastfeeding, food and healthy nutrition
  • taking care of yourself and your family
  • other services available to you and your child in your community (health services, parenting programs, family literacy programs and financial aid).

There is no cost to you for the program and your participation is voluntary.  For more information, call 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 269.