DrinkWise has joined forces with medical practitioners to urge women to abstain from alcohol when planning a pregnancy, during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
New research by DrinkWise claims the 82 per cent of Australian women aged 18 to 44 believe no amount of alcohol should be consumed during pregnancy. While this is higher than the 76 per cent of women who said that in 2019, DrinkWise said it does highlight that more education is needed.
“It’s great that more and more Australian women are understanding that they shouldn’t be consuming alcohol if they are planning a pregnancy, pregnant or breastfeeding, but it is critical that we continue campaigns that can help deliver this important health message,” DrinkWise CEO Simon Strahan said.
“DrinkWise is committed to educating the community that FASD is 100 per cent preventable, to help look after our next generation of children.”
Obstetrician Dr Vicki Carson, who has seen the devastating effects of alcohol on new-born babies first-hand, is lending her voice to raise awareness about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in the lead up to International FASD Awareness Day on 9 September.
Dr Carson believes all Australians need to know there’s no proven safe amount of alcohol which can be consumed while planning for a baby, during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
“FASD is a 100 per cent preventable condition that can cause irreparable damage. Prenatal exposure to alcohol can reduce the size and weight of the fetal brain. It can also directly damage regions of a baby’s brain that are critical for learning, memory, behaviour, language and decision-making,” said Dr Carson.
“We do know the importance of education and the critical role doctors and obstetricians play, which is why I encourage all my colleagues to remind their pregnant patients that it’s best to avoid alcohol altogether.”
Dr Carson said it’s heart-breaking seeing families whose children have been diagnosed with FASD.
“When I see a couple who already have one child affected by FASD, the most common reason is that they didn’t know to avoid or abstain from alcohol during pregnancy. And that’s just a reminder how important this campaign is. This isn’t just an issue that women should know about, it is just as important that their partners, friends and families know about it too,” Dr Carson added.
Media personality Hayley Willis and her fiancée, presenter and model Fiona Falkiner, have partnered with DrinkWise to urge women to avoid alcohol when planning a pregnancy, during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Both Willis and Falkiner gave up alcohol during the pregnancies, with both saying it was an easy decision to make for the health of their children.
“For us, abstaining from alcohol when trying to fall pregnant, when pregnant and breastfeeding was a really simple choice to make. We wanted to give our bubby’s the best start to life, said Falkiner.
“We did the research and consulted medical professionals, and it was clear – we shouldn’t be drinking,” added Willis.
“We abstained all the way through our pregnancies and considering all the lovely chaos of life with a new baby, we knew it was best for us to continue to abstain until we finished breastfeeding,” said Falkiner.
DrinkWise research shows 49 per cent of partners said they would likely give up alcohol to support their partner if they were planning a pregnancy, pregnant or breastfeeding.
“I thought it was beneficial for me to support Hayley by abstaining from alcohol during her pregnancy and now during her breastfeeding. I just want to give her all the support she needs, and it’s been the best for our children,” Falkiner said.