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Nhs Highland - No Alcohol In Pregnancy Is The Best And Safest Choice

10th September 2020

The Highland Alcohol and Drugs Partnership along with NHS Highland and the Highland Child Protection Committee are raising awareness of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) on 9th September.

FASD is the leading known preventable cause of learning disability worldwide. Affected children can have a wide range of physical, growth and neurobehavioural problems which impact on their everyday lives and limit their independence.

Deborah Stewart, HADP Coordinator, said: "FASD is an umbrella term for a range of conditions that can be caused by drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol is a toxin that can damage the baby's health. The good news is FASD is preventable."

Eve MacLeod, NHS Highland Health Improvement Specialist, said: "When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, it passes from her blood through the placenta to the developing baby. Everyone can make a difference in preventing FASD. The key message is; No alcohol when pregnant is the best and safest option."

On 9th September each year, communities around the world raise awareness of the benefits of spending the nine months of pregnancy free from alcohol. Scotland's Chief Medical Officer advises that women who are trying to become pregnant or are pregnant should avoid drinking alcohol.

Research has not established a 'safe' level of alcohol intake while pregnant. What is clear is that the risk of harm to the unborn baby increases the more alcohol is consumed and binge drinking is especially harmful.

Mhairi Grant, Chair of Highland Child Protection Committee, said: “Around one in 20 people in Scotland are affected by FASD. It can affect a child's health, development and general wellbeing, with many requiring significant support throughout their childhood and as adults.”

The campaign encourages awareness that during pregnancy or when trying to conceive: No alcohol means No risk of FASD. And that: Everyone has a role to play in supporting pregnant women to avoid alcohol.