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Publication Date: 08/09/2017 

Alcohol and pregnancy do not mix 

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder awareness day 

 

Ashley Goodfellow, NHS Lanarkshire Public Health Specialist. 

Alcohol and pregnancy do not mix.

This is the key message NHS Lanarkshire is keen to promote as we approach Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) awareness day on Saturday 9 September.

Ashley Goodfellow, Public Health Specialist, said: “We want to increase awareness of the risks to the baby if the mum drinks alcohol while pregnant.
“There is no proven safe level for alcohol consumption during pregnancy. The only risk-free approach is to avoid alcohol completely.”

FASD is the term given to a group of life-long conditions that are entirely preventable if a woman abstains from alcohol throughout her pregnancy. These include behavioural and learning difficulties, problems with vital organs, hearing and sight issues and specific facial characteristics.

The term ‘spectrum’ is used because each individual with FASD may have some or all of a spectrum of mental and physical challenges. In addition each individual with FASD may have these challenges to a degree from mild to very severe.

Ashley added: “FASD is completely preventable. By avoiding alcohol during pregnancy, mums can protect their baby.

“Women do not drink to intentionally harm their baby. There are a number of reasons why women might drink alcohol while they are pregnant or they might not even know they are pregnant.

“If you want to be sure that your baby will not be born with alcohol related brain damage, the message is clear - avoid alcohol for the duration of your pregnancy and when planning to conceive.

Jill Madden, FASD Programme Manager, said: “We need to increase awareness and understanding of this issue.

“Everyone can play a helpful role in raising awareness and preventing fetal alcohol harm. It is vital that we reach prospective mothers and their partners with factual information and support where necessary.

“Any woman who is concerned about alcohol in pregnancy should speak to their midwife.”