Practical information for parents on alcohol and pregnancy will be distributed nationally to GPs and other health professionals as part of an education campaign initiated by DrinkWise Australia and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
DrinkWise Australia Chair, Hon. Trish Worth, said the campaign would include posters and brochures targeted to doctors and their patients. Further information will be available through the DrinkWise Australia website (www.drinkwise.org.au/free-resources/alcohol-pregnancy-resources/) including an educational video.
“In addition to educating women that it is safest not to drink while pregnant, we’re also asking GPs to be pro-active in discussing this issue with their patients,” Ms Worth said.
“Our key message is that the safest option for women is not to drink if they are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding, based on advice from the National Health and Medical Research Council.
“We don’t yet know how much alcohol is safe to drink when women are pregnant. However, it is known that the risk of damage to your baby increases the more you drink and that binge drinking is especially harmful. Therefore, drinking no alcohol is the safest choice for your baby.”
Professor Alec Welsh, Head of the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Department at the Royal Hospital for Women, and a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said there had been ongoing confusion in the community about how much women could safely drink during pregnancy.
“We think by far the best advice we can give is to encourage women and their partners to see a doctor when they are planning to fall pregnant,” Professor Welsh said.
“Your doctor can discuss a range of lifestyle issues relating to pregnancy, and this includes providing the message about alcohol and the preference to cease the intake of alcohol when pregnant or breastfeeding.”