Most washrooms’ contents are pretty standard – soap, toilet paper and in some of the fancier ones an array of personal grooming products.
But not many stock up on pregnancy tests.
The Yellowknife Association for Community Living has provided free pregnancy kits in women’s washrooms at bars and liquor stores for weeks now as part of a campaign to help prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).
An empty bin where pregnancy kits were made available inside the women’s restroom at Twist.
FASD is an umbrella term to describe a range of negative effects that happen to individuals whose mothers drank alcohol during pregnancy.
It can affect sufferers in different ways – from causing physical, mental and learning disabilities to causing the individual to have behavioural challenges.
Vera Nesbitt, manager of family and children services with the Yellowknife Association for Community Living, came up with the idea as part of FASD Awareness Day on Sep. 9.
The kits contain a pregnancy test, a condom, informative pamphlets about FASD and a list of services available for expecting mothers.
Nesbitt and her team made around 500 kits to distribute around town.
‘It may not only be you, take a quick and simple test to find out it you’re drinking for two,’ reads a message on the kits, advising women who might be pregnant to take a test before having a drink.
“Can you imagine, right there before you drink the first glass and you find out you’re pregnant?” said Nesbitt. “Look what you have prevented – a lifetime sentence for a child.
“If we can try to prevent [FASD] in the beginning of the conception, that is the time … If we’re going to prevent something, let’s try to prevent it from the beginning before it starts.”
A 2011 survey found that one out of every 32 children in foster care in the territory suffered from the disease – the highest prevalence in all of Canada.
Nesbitt hopes to continue the project coming into the holidays.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Edmonton and Area Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Network.