Reducing harm caused by alcohol


Alcohol and pregnancy don't mix

This Wednesday, 9 September, is International FASD awareness day.  

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) refers to a range of permanent and irreversible birth defects caused by a woman drinking during pregnancy. Affected children can have a wide range of physical, growth, behaviour and learning problems which impact on their everyday lives and limit their independence.

The condition is difficult to diagnose because there is no test, many of the symptoms can be similar to other conditions, and the mum’s drinking history may be unknown.

There is no known safe amount of alcohol to drink while pregnant. We do know that the risk of harm to the unborn baby increases the more alcohol is consumed and binge drinking is especially harmful. Avoiding alcohol during pregnancy and when planning pregnancy is the only way to be sure that the baby will not be affected by FASD.

Unfortunately, women are receiving conflicting messages about the risks of drinking during pregnancy. All healthcare providers need to deliver a clear, consistent message that no alcohol is the best and safest choice from conception to birth.