New Campaign Encourages New and Expecting Mums to Protect Their Babies by Not Drinking Alcohol

Reducing the impact of alcohol-related harm on unborn and newborn babies is the focus of a new health campaign.

Page last updated: 01 July 2014

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1 July 2014

Reducing the impact of alcohol-related harm on unborn and newborn babies is the focus of a new health campaign launched in Sydney today by the Assistant Minister for Health, Fiona Nash.

Minister Nash said the Women Want to Know initiative would provide health professionals with better support and training on how to discuss the risks of alcohol consumption with women planning a pregnancy, and with new and expectant mothers.

“As any mother will know, there is a lot of information out there about every aspect of the health of their child.” Minster Nash said. “Many women rightly choose to rely on their GP, obstetrician and other health professionals to provide this advice.

“Health professionals therefore need to be able to convey the risks associated with drinking while pregnant in a way which doesn’t cause distress or embarrassment, or turns women away from wanting to receive further prenatal care.

“Women Want to Know will provide health professionals with training modules, brochures and other resources to help raise the issue of alcohol consumption with their patients in a way that’s both informative and non-judgemental.

“The campaign promotes the National Health and Medical Research Council’s updated Alcohol Guidelines which state that no alcohol is the safest option if you are pregnant, breast feeding, or planning a pregnancy.”

The campaign includes a range of resources for health professionals including training modules developed by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners; the Australian College of Midwives; and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

For women and their families, brochures will explain the health risks associated with drinking while pregnant and breastfeeding, including the risk of children developing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) which can cause a range of health, behavioural and developmental problems.

Designed by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), with funding support of $595,000 from the Australian Government, the campaign builds on Government efforts to prevent Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

The Government announced funding of $9.2 million to a FASD Action Plan last week. It includes funding for services to support alcohol dependent women; targeted grants to undertake further research; and funding for the New Directions: Mother and Babies program.

Minister's media contact: Carolyn Martin 02 6277 7440 / 0417 966 328.

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