Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Theresa Tam has recommended “pregnant people” avoid drinking alcohol to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome instead of simply referring to pregnant women.

Tam made the recommendation in a Dec. 23 tweet.

“This holiday season, help prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) by providing support for the pregnant people in your life,” wrote Tam. 

The tweet linked to another helpful piece of government advice – a memo specifying that drinking by a non-pregnant partner will not cause FASD in a pregnant one.

“A partner’s drinking will not cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorder,” read the memo. “However, it can influence the birthing parent’s consumption and the healthy development of the baby.”

The page goes on to advise that partners can support “pregnant people” by not drinking alcohol, being supportive and present and encouraging them to not drink while pregnant. It suggests there are many reasons why people consume alcohol when they are pregnant, including not knowing they are pregnant, using alcohol to cope with problems, having an addiction or being unaware of the risks of drinking. 

Tam has used woke language in the past when speaking about pregnancy. 

On Nov. 26, she urged “pregnant and breastfeeding people” to be vaccinated against COVID-19.  

“While Canada has achieved great success in vaccinating a significant proportion of our population against COVID-19, some groups lag behind in uptake,” she said. “One key group that appears to have lower uptake of COVID-19 vaccines is people who are pregnant.”

Tam added, “research shows that breastmilk of people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 have antibodies.” 

On Jan. 5 2021, she advised “pregnant people” and children under five years old to take their flu shots. 

Twitter users were quick to criticize Tam for avoiding the term “pregnant women.” 

Tam’s language echoes the Liberal government’s ongoing commitment to “gender inclusivity.” 

In 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau interrupted a woman during a town hall to correct her use of the word “mankind.” 

“We like to say peoplekind, not necessarily mankind, because it’s more inclusive,” said Trudeau.