The COVID-19 pandemic, and resulting lockdowns, have created big changes to our lives, and alcohol consumption may have changed for some people. Hazardous drinking can be harmful for everyone, but drinking during pregnancy can harm both mother and child.
The vision at Counties Manukau Health is to work in partnership with our communities to improve the health of all people, and supporting women to have alcohol-free pregnancies is an important focus.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is used to describe lifelong physical and mental problems children can develop due to prenatal exposure to alcohol. It can cause delays in development and problems with learning and socialising. People with FASD experience challenges in their daily living and will need support to reach their potential. Each individual with FASD is unique and has area of both strengths and challenges.
There is no cure for FASD but it is 100% preventable.
"Exposure to alcohol to the unborn child is recognised as the leading preventable cause of intellectual disability in the developed world", says Dr Marguerite Dalton, Consultant Paediatrician at CM Health
"We don’t know the exact numbers in New Zealand but international studies suggest that around 3% of all births may be affected.”
Partners, friends and whaanau can support pregnant women to be alcohol-free by doing a number of simple things like providing non-alcoholic drinks at events- discouraging others to offer them alcohol and by joining them in being alcohol-free.
What you need to know:
- FASD is 100% preventable; alcohol-free pregnancies or stopping drinking will help give babies a healthy start to life.
- Women who could be pregnant, are trying to get pregnant, or are pregnant, can prevent FASD by not drinking alcohol.
It’s never too late to stop.
If you or someone you care about might need some support free text or call 1737, or call the Alcohol Drug Helpline 0800 787 797 or text them on 8681.
For more information on Alcohol Harm Minimisation email firstname.lastname@example.org.