Residents are being made aware of a range of problems that can be caused by women drinking alcohol at any point during pregnancy.
Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a term for a range of conditions including physical and learning difficulties, as well as behavioural problems, which can be caused when a developing baby in the womb is exposed to alcohol. There is no cure for these conditions but they are preventable – no alcohol means zero risk.
Wednesday 9 September marks International Foetal Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day and the Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Public Health team, the FASD Network UK and Teesside University, are working together to raise awareness of the risks involved in drinking during pregnancy.
The partnership, supported by Chapel Road Youth Club in Stockton, has produced a short animation targeting young people to raise awareness about the key messages about FASD.
Councillor Jim Beall, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Health, said: “There is a real need to get the message across to everybody that drinking during pregnancy is unacceptable and can have a serious adverse impact on the health of your baby.
“International studies estimate that one percent of the UK population is affected by FASD. This means that in Stockton Borough around 24 babies are born each year with one or more conditions due to drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
“In previous annual reports by our Director of Public Health we have recommended women should avoid alcohol altogether in pregnancy as a key message.
“I would encourage everyone to watch the animation to learn the dangers associated with drinking during pregnancy. I also urge anyone that is, or thinks that they could be pregnant, to stop drinking immediately to help ensure that their baby has the best chance of a healthy start to life.”
By watching the animation, it is hoped that young people will learn about the damage that FASD can cause and share the message among their friends.
The animation is available to view at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLZlZ4pExNI
Awareness is also being raised by the Stockton-on-Tees Lifeline Service at information stands at the following locations:
• Stockton Central Library – Wednesday 9 September – 10am to 3pm
• Thornaby ASDA – Thursday 10 September – 10am to 1pm
To learn more about FASD, visit www.fasdnetwork.org