Action group advocates alcohol-free pregnancies

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“EVERYONE can do something to encourage and support women to avoid alcohol during pregnancy,” says a South Ayrshire action group as a new ‘no alcohol, no risk’ campaign is launched.

Sunday September 9 was the 14th annual International Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day, and people all around the world took part in events to raise awareness about the importance for mothers to abstain from alcohol during pregnancy.

FASD is the term given to a range of birth defects caused by maternal drinking during pregnancy, and is the biggest cause of non-genetic mental handicap in the western world according to awareness group FAS Aware.To help promote the event, South Ayrshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership are advocating that during pregnancy – and while trying for a baby – ‘no alcohol, no risk’ is the key message.

“Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause permanent lifelong damage to the unborn baby and drinking alcohol during attempts to conceive can also be harmful to an unborn child,” a council spokesman said.

“Many women may not realise that they are pregnant at the time when they are drinking and that is why medical advice is to avoid alcohol when you are trying for a baby as well as when you are pregnant.

“There is no known ‘safe’ amount or type of alcohol or known safe time to consume alcohol during pregnancy. So families and friends of pregnant women need to remember that the only thing for sure during pregnancy is no alcohol, no risk. “

Kenny Leinster, chair of the South Ayrshire Drugs and Alcohol Partnership, added: “You do not have to be a woman, or a health professional, to play a constructive and important role in raising awareness and preventing alcohol related birth defects.”