Study finds Irish women among the worst in the world for drinking while pregnant.
No amount of alcohol at any stage of pregnancy is safe for your baby, the Health Service Executive has warned.
A global study of 187 countries reveals Ireland is estimated to have the third highest rate of foetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
The HSE has today launched a new information campaign asking for a zero-tolerance policy on drinking alcohol while pregnant.
One of the best ways a mother can protect their baby is to avoid alcohol all together.
According to the information leaflet available through askaboutalcohol.ie:
“Alcohol can damage your babys developing brain and body. Alcohol passes from the mothers blood into the babys blood via the placenta.
“Drinking can cause brain damage and other birth defects. The more you drink, the greater the risk to your baby. Zero alcohol = zero risk of FASD for your baby.”
Research conducted by the HSE has found that 1 in 2 people in Ireland claim they are aware of illnesses and conditions that affect babies after birth as a result of exposure to alcohol during pregnancy.
However, it is reported that only just over 1 in 10 people state they have a good understanding of FASD, its symptoms and its cause.
Marion Rackard from the HSE Alcohol Programme says:
This new Pregnancy and Alcohol campaign, including an information leaflet, poster and social media messaging, outlines the facts about FASD, and has lots of practical information for women who are pregnant or planning a family about how to plan an alcohol-free pregnancy.
“We know from talking to women that they can sometimes feel under pressure to drink because other people expect them to or because they dont want people to guess that they are pregnant. The campaign also provides advice for partners, family and friends on how they can provide support and help make it easier to have an alcohol free pregnancy.
The campaign was launched today to mark Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day.