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4 September 2021
DOCTORS AND DRINKWISE REMIND MUMS-TO-BE TO SAY NO TO ALCOHOL AS PANDEMIC PREGNANCIES SOAR
With the Covid-19 birth rate surging1, DrinkWise and medical practitioners have joined forces to urge women to abstain from alcohol when planning a pregnancy, during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
The timely reminder is in support of International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day on September 9th – and follows recent government research that indicates 30% of Australian women report consuming alcohol while pregnant2.
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.
Obstetrician Dr Vicki Woodward, who has seen the devastating effects of alcohol on new-born babies first-hand, believes all Australians need to know the facts.
“FASD is a preventable condition that can cause irreparable damage. This isn’t just an issue that women should know about, it is just as important that their partners and families know about it too,” said Dr Woodward.
“With July birth rates in Victoria up 20%1, it’s an important time to remind anyone planning a pregnancy or pregnant about these important issues.”
DrinkWise CEO Simon Strahan acknowledged that while rates of abstinence in pregnancy were going in the right direction (from 58% in 2013 to 70% in 2019), there is a lot more to be done.
“The statistics are heading in the right direction, with more and more women saying no to alcohol when pregnant, but we won’t be satisfied until that number is 100%,” said Strahan.
“DrinkWise is committed to educating the community around the importance of not drinking alcohol if planning a pregnancy, pregnant or breastfeeding.”
Zoe Marshall, wife of NRL star Benji Marshall who had their second child just weeks ago, is supporting DrinkWise’s mission to educate more Australians about the issue of FASD ahead of International FASD Awareness Day.
Marshall, who gave birth to her daughter, Ever, in June abstained from alcohol during her pregnancy and breastfeeding journey.
“Like many mums, I want to give my babies the best possible start in life, and for me, that involved not drinking alcohol when pregnant, and now while I breastfeed too,”
“The pandemic has presented so much added worry to pregnancy, birthing and those precious early new-born months for us mums, and even though I’ve been here before with my first child Fox, it can be extremely overwhelming and hard to filter the relevant information,”
“Standing together and educating each other on important issues like FASD is the way forward. I’m delighted to help promote this important message” added Marshall.
Notes to editors:
1 Source: Births, deaths and marriages Victoria.
2 Source: AIHW, Measuring risky drinking according to the Australian alcohol guidelines.