Publish date: 8 September 2021
Thursday 9 September is Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day. FASD is a preventable condition that the World Health Organisation reports affects 1 in 100 babies.
Symptoms of FASD can be physical as well as mental and can include damage to the brain, kidneys and limbs as well as low set ears and a flat philtrum (the vertical groove between the nose and top lip). Children with FASD can also demonstrate:
- Learning difficulties
- Poor impulse control
- Problems in memory, attention or judgment
- Problems in social understanding
This can lead to children being misdiagnosed as having autism and Asperger’s syndrome.
Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS FT has been pioneering in offering advice and guidance to pregnant women through a programme that has been rolled out across Greater Manchester which focuses on prevention, early intervention and awareness raising. From our research it became apparent that people are unaware of the impact alcohol consumption during pregnancy has on the developing foetus and child.
#Drymester is a campaign to inspire and support people to go alcohol free when pregnant or planning a pregnancy. There's lots of different advice out there. The message is simple and based on the facts – when it comes to alcohol, there's no safe time and no safe amount to drink during pregnancy.
Sally Morgan, Advanced Maternity Support Worker and the Trust’s FASD Champion, says, “Pregnancy is a unique time in someone’s life so it is a golden opportunity for people to make changes in their lives, for the better, to improve their health. It is our role to give parents the right information so that they can make an informed decision about alcohol and their pregnancy.
“We promote the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines that if you are pregnant or think you could become pregnant, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all, to keep risks to your baby to a minimum. Drinking in pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to the baby, with the more you drink the greater the risk.”
Sally and her colleagues will be available in the Anti-Natal Clinic on Thursday 9 September to answer any questions that pregnant people and their partners have around FASD and #Drymester.
You can find out more about #Drymester by visiting https://www.drymester.org.uk/ or using the hashtag on social media.