Danger to Babies If Pregnant women Drink Alcohol And No Safe Amount
11th September 2021
The Highland Alcohol and Drugs Partnership along with NHS Highland are raising awareness of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
FASD is the leading known preventable cause of learning disability worldwide. Affected children can have a wide range of physical, growth and neurobehavioural problems which impact on their everyday lives and limit their independence.
Deborah Stewart, Highland Alcohol and Drugs Partnership Coordinator, said: "FASD is an umbrella term for a range of conditions that can be caused by drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol is a toxin that can damage the baby's health. The good news is FASD is preventable".
Eve MacLeod, an NHS Highland Health Improvement Specialist, said: “When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, it passes from her blood through the placenta to the developing baby. Everyone can make a difference in preventing FASD. The key message is: no alcohol when pregnant is the best and safest option.
“We’ve been working with the Highland Midwifery Voice Partnership to support alcohol-free pregnancies. This has helped us to develop messages about pregnancy and alcohol, which will be shared on our social media channels on FASD Awareness Day. This includes ways we can all help. We thank everyone who has been involved in this project.”
On 9th September each year, communities around the world raise awareness of the benefits of spending the nine months of pregnancy free from alcohol. Scotland's Chief Medical Officer advises that women who are trying to become pregnant or are pregnant should avoid drinking alcohol.
Research has not established a 'safe' level of alcohol intake while pregnant. What is clear is that the risk of harm to the unborn baby increases the more alcohol is consumed and binge drinking is especially harmful.
Claire MacPhee, Highland’s Midwifery Development Officer, said: “Partners, family, friends and professionals all have a vital role to play in ensuring the message an alcohol free pregnancy equals no risk of FASD is accepted by everyone and that any pregnant women struggling to give up alcohol will get the support they need.”
The campaign encourages awareness that during pregnancy or when trying to conceive: No alcohol means No risk of FASD. And that: Everyone has a role to play in supporting pregnant women to avoid alcohol.