Roberta Blackman-Woods today visited the University Hospital of North Durham for the launch of a new awareness programme about Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).
The campaign is being launched on FASD day (9th September). This date has been chosen as the FASD Day as it is the 9th day of the 9th month, which represents the 9 months of pregnancy during which it is recommended that pregnant women avoid all alcohol.
Robert met with Sue Jacques, Chief Executive of the Hospital Trust, and members of staff from the maternity unit to talk about the ‘My Baby’s Too Young to Drink’ campaign being launched by The FASD Trust. Incidences of FASD among children and new born babies have increased, and this campaign promotes the message that women should stop drinking alcohol completely during pregnancy.
Research carried out by the FASD trust shows that midwives and other health professionals can play a critical role in influencing the behaviour of women during their pregnancy. This new campaign provides midwives with resources to help boost awareness of FASD, and a support helpline. These resources help midwives to raise awareness of the risks of drinking alcohol both with pregnant women, and with women contemplating having a child.
Roberta said “It was a pleasure to visit the UNHD maternity unit and see how midwives and doctors are working with organisations like the FASD Trust to reduce the number of babies born with FASD. Children exposed to alcohol during pregnancy are at risk of a range of serious health problems, which can affect them throughout their lives. These health problems are all preventable and it’s essential we equip midwives with the resources to get the message across to pregnant women that drinking at any point in pregnancy can cause both mental and physical challenges for their child.”