A Growing Concern

Drinking alcohol can damage your unborn baby.

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is brain damage and other disorders that can be caused to children through women drinking during their pregnancy. This is because alcohol interferes with the normal development of a foetus (the baby growing in the womb).

FASD includes:

Foetal alcohol syndrome

  • Growth retardation;
  • Intellectual impairment;
  • Distinctive facial features including small eye openings, a small head, and a thin, flat upper lip;
  • Cleft palate;
  • Joint problems;

Foetal alcohol effects

  • Behavioural problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder;
  • Central nervous system damage and neurological impairment; and
  • Low birth weight.

Alcohol related neurodevelopmental disorders

  • Poor mental development;
  • Lower intellectual function; and
  • Behaviour and social problems.

Alcohol related birth defects

How much alcohol is safe?
Alcohol can damage your baby throughout the pregnancy. Researchers haven’t been able to determine a safe level for alcohol consumption for pregnant women. But it is known that the more alcohol you consume during pregnancy, the greater the risk.

Some studies suggest that a baby’s developing brain can be injured even at low alcohol exposure levels, so the best advice is to not drink at all while you are pregnant.

You also shouldn’t drink if you’re trying to get pregnant or while you’re breastfeeding.

Did You Know . . .?
According to the National Organisation for Foetal Alcohol Syndrome and Related Disorders:

  • Approximately 200,000 Australians have FASD;
    At least 1000 babies are being born every year with FASD;
  • FASD is the most common preventable cause of birth defects and brain damage in children.

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