Health Minister Greg Hunt said the federal government is committed to raising public awareness about FASD, which is the main non-genetic developmental disability in Australia, and the risks associated with alcohol consumption during the pregnancy.
“We can all play a role in helping women and families have healthy pregnancies and educating them about FASD,” said Hunt. âEvery Moment Mattersâ highlights the risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, to educate the wider community that alcohol should not be consumed during pregnancy. “
FARE chief executive Caterina Giorgi said the campaign, based on guidelines from the National Board of Health and Medical Research that women should not drink during pregnancy, was aimed at tackling misinformation about alcohol and pregnancy.
In February, a survey by research firm Kantar of nearly 1,500 Australian women who were pregnant, planning to become pregnant or would consider having a baby if they did become pregnant within the next two years found that 29% did not. did not know that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause FASD. .
Almost half (51 percent) were unaware that alcohol can cause harm in the first few weeks after conception, while 69 percent were unaware that alcohol crosses the placenta to the developing baby .
Sophie began to suspect FASD as the cause of her son’s symptoms after learning that there was no known safe level of alcohol to drink during pregnancy, but her concerns were initially dismissed because that she had only consumed at low levels.
Although she had been drinking at a number of social events before finding out she was pregnant, she had always been told that it could not have harmed her son. It wasn’t until her problems at school intensified that she began to look for answers.
âWhen he hit the age of about 11, that’s when it became very obvious,â she said. “He suddenly failed all of his tests completely.”
Sophie’s son had been assessed for ADHD, dyslexia and dyscalculia, but it turned out he didn’t have any and didn’t show signs of autism. He was first assessed as “significantly educationally at risk”, but without a specific learning disability. Impaired executive functions – mental skills including planning, working memory, and organization – made it difficult to concentrate in school.
âHe’s very smart and very smart socially. So he was working with friends, copying their work, without anyone realizing it, âshe said.
Since her son’s diagnosis of FASD, the family has focused on supporting his strengths.
âHe’s very fond of the outdoors and practical, very practical,â she said.
For more information on alcohol consumption during pregnancy, visit Everymomentmatters.org.au, call the NOFASD hotline at 1 800 860 613, the Alcohol and other drugs hotline at 1 800 250 015 or speak to a healthcare professional.