No alcohol is the message of a new state campaign aimed at highlighting the risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
The No Alcohol is the Safest Choice campaign is based on research carried out at Edith Cowan University, which found that many women are often confused about whether small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy are safe.
ECU’s Centre for Applied Social Marketing Research academic Dr Kathryn France said that alcohol use in pregnancy is a sensitive issue and that the research with pregnant women and women of childbearing age in Perth helped to get the messages for this campaign right.
“Women were not clear about the risks of drinking low to moderate amounts of alcohol during pregnancy,” Dr France said.
“This campaign seeks to communicate to women that no amount of alcohol during pregnancy has been proven to be safe, the key message is clear – for women who are pregnant, no alcohol is the safest choice,” Dr France said.
The effects that alcohol use during pregnancy can have on the baby include:
- Brain damage;
- Birth defects;
- Cell damage;
- Behavioural problems;
- Developmental delays;
- Low IQ; and
- Poor growth.
“In some cases these effects may not be obvious at birth, but they can become evident later on in life, and cannot be reversed,” Dr France said.
“We just don’t know how much alcohol it takes to do damage. But what is clear is that women can give their baby the best start in life, and give themselves one less thing to worry about, by not drinking any alcohol at all.”
“If women stop drinking when they start trying to get pregnant, they can avoid exposing the baby to alcohol in the early stages of pregnancy,” Dr France said.
The campaign, which forms part of the Drug and Alcohol Office Alcohol. Think Again initiative, aims to clarify any confusion from pregnant woman, health and community professionals and the wider general public on how much alcohol is safe to consume during pregnancy.
If pregnant women have concerns about alcohol consumption during pregnancy they should contact their health professional.
Source: Edith Cowan University