THE dangers of mums-to- be drinking while pregnant are the focus of a local campaign.
Middlesbrough Council is working in partnership with Redcar & Cleveland Council, Stockton Borough Council and Hartlepool Borough Council to deliver the clear message that Alcohol and Pregnancy Don’t Mix.
Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day takes place on Friday, September 9 with the aim of spreading the word across the Tees.
As part of the awareness day, children’s centres within Middlesbrough are holding ‘mocktails’ events when alcohol-free cocktails will be promoted as a safe substitute for mums-to-be.
Mums-to-be will be invited to attend, while other activity includes in-pharmacy poster and sticker campaigns, banners in key locations and information distributed to GPs.
Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) covers a range of disabilities that can be caused when a developing baby in the womb is exposed to alcohol.
These can include physical disabilities, learning difficulties and behavioural problems. FASD is permanent and there is no cure – but it is preventable.
Although the condition is still under-diagnosed, statistics show that approximately 1% of all babies born may have some form of FASD, meaning around one baby is born each day in the North East with FASD.
Councillor Mick Thompson, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Communities and Public Health, said: “FASD has a higher incidence rate than autism, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, spina bifida and sudden infant death syndrome combined.
“But it is 100% preventable – which is why we are advising mothers to avoid alcohol completely during pregnancy and choose to consume no alcohol during their nine-month pregnancy term. It’s essential that parents-to- be are warned of the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
“Alcohol continues to have a huge impact on children and young people and we need to do everything we can to protect them, and ensure they have the best possible start in life.”
For further information and advice from the FASD network at www.fasdnetwork.org