If you’re pregnant – don’t drink any alcohol. That’s the message to Doncaster mums-to-be from Aspire Drug and Alcohol Service in a bid to raise awareness of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness Day (Friday 9 September).
Aspire Specialist Midwife Kay Webster said: “Foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is the name given to the mental and physical problems that can develop in a baby when its mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy – it is completely avoidable if you don’t drink alcohol when you’re pregnant.
“An unborn child in the womb gets its nourishment from its mother’s bloodstream, so alcohol easily passes from her blood through the placenta to her baby’s blood.
“A baby’s liver is one of the last organs to develop fully and doesn’t mature until the later stages of pregnancy, which means it can’t process alcohol as well as the mother can.
“Alcohol damages the important cells in the baby’s body that are necessary for growth and also disrupts the connection of the nerves in the brain. The damage to the cells by alcohol results in poor growth, smaller body size and a delay in development – which could lead to a lifetime of problems for both the child and the mother.”
Kay added: “As a midwife my advice is to completely stay away from alcohol when you’re pregnant, because no matter how small the amount of alcohol you drink, there is a great risk of harming your unborn baby, and I’d urge anyone worried about their drinking to seek help.”
Doncaster mums-to-be who are worried about their alcohol intake can seek free help and help advice by dropping into Aspire’s town centre Single Point of Access Service at Rosslyn House, 37 Thorne Road, which is open Mondays and Thursdays 9am to 7pm, Tuesdays and Fridays 9am to 5pm and Wednesdays 9am to 1pm. Alternatively people can ring (01302) 730956 for advice. Aspire also provides a live chat service at www.aspire.community