MOTHERS-to-be are being warned about the incurable condition that strikes one baby born each day in the North-East. More than 300 babies born in the region every year suffering from Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
A pregnant woman with a glass of wine
The condition is more common than autism, spina bifida and Down’s Syndrome and is permanent and irreversible – but it is preventable.
A FASD awareness day takes place on Friday, September 9, and councils across Teesside are working in partnership to deliver the message that alcohol and pregnancy do not mix.
As part of the 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.
Pregnant women will be invited to attend, while other activities include 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.
Although the condition is still under-diagnosed, statistics show that approximately one per cent of all babies born may have some form of 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 per cent 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.”
Disclaimer: The views and opinions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Edmonton and Area Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Network.