The worrying effects of FASD can lead to babies being born with poor growth; learning disorders; cerebral palsy; epilepsy; distinctive facial features (small eyes set far apart / a thin upper lip); mood, attention or behavioural problems (i.e ADHD); hearing and sight problems; and problems with the liver, kidneys, heart and other organs.

It’s reported that as many as 7,000 babies a year in the UK are born with symptoms of FASD.

The public health awareness day is being held in association with Newcastle City Council, the Newcastle Hospitals Trust and Lifeline.  People who attend the five-hour drop-in event will have access to advice through leaflets, online animations and the chance to have an informal chat with one of our professionals.

Running in parallel with Grainger Market, there will also be an event being staged at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI).

There’s even a chance for people to try out a selection of tasty ‘mocktails’ that are currently proving popular in pubs and clubs around the country as healthier alternatives to drinking alcohol during a night out with friends, family and work colleagues.

Cllr Stephen Powers, Cabinet Member for Policy and Communication at Newcastle City Council, said: “Many people often socialise with friends in our city’s pubs and bars so there is a lot of pressure on some women to continue to drink until their full term.

“Events like these are a vital way to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy. The repercussions don’t just stop at the mother and her unborn child, but can affect the whole immediate family.

“While providing advice and information on services that could be quite literally life changing, we will also be encouraging expecting mothers to try none-alcohol alternatives, such as mocktails.”

Rachel Towell, Senior Midwife Drug and Alcohol at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI), said: “As a society, we do not appear to have the knowledge about FASD, and the dangers of alcohol in pregnancy.  We still have an older generation who were advised to drink stout during pregnancy to aid iron supply.  However, through research we know that iron in alcohol is negligible and the harm caused by alcohol is far greater than any benefit that was historically thought.

“I don’t think that people realise that FASD is 100 per cent preventable. It’s pure and simple.  If mothers don’t drink during pregnancy then their children won’t develop the life changing symptoms.  Events like FASD Awareness Day are a great way of getting the message out on a wider basis.”

Both events take place on Friday September 9th between 10am and 3pm at the events space in Grainger Market and on Level 2 – at the top of the escalator of the Victoria Wing – at the Royal Victoria Infirmary.

For further useful information about Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) please visit the Balance North East website www.balancenortheast.co.uk