Warning Issued to Pregnant Women to Avoid Alcohol
The latest warning to pregnant women about the dangers of alcohol has been issued by members of the government. Health Minister Jillian Skinner has instructed pregnant women to have “zero tolerance” or risk the health of their baby.
The state government has recently urged expectant mothers not to drink at all following calls from Australian academics for women to abstain during pregnancy.
Studies are still underway which investigate the effects of low-range drinking during pregnancy.
Some people believe that drinking in moderation is acceptable during pregnancy and a British survey recently indicated that children of mothers who drank moderately had better balance at the age of 10 (Moderately being 3-7 glasses a week). However this is extremely confusing for mothers because there are so many mixed messages out there.
The Health Minister said that although there were mixed messages out there which could be very confusing to women, the best option is to abstain from alcohol completely. She went on to explain “A zero tolerance of alcohol during pregnancy gives your baby the best possible start in life,”
Although the state government suggests being safe rather than sorry, Dr Delyse Hutchinson from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, said that the adverse impacts of low-level drinking was still unclear.
The article from www.DailyTelegraph.com.au explains Dr Hutchinson’s view further:
Dr Hutchinson is leading the first large-scale Australian study into substance abuse among pregnant women, examining the effects of both alcohol and drugs on 2000 families during the prenatal period on infant development and family functioning.
“We know that a fairly large proportion of women do drink during pregnancy – between a third and half do drink during pregnancy but most drink at very low levels,” she said.
“We know that heavy drinking during pregnancy has significant effects on the broad physical health and development of infants, including lower intellectual functioning.
“However, there is not a lot of research on the impact of low levels of drinking and this is one of the aims of our study.”
NSW Kids and Families is a branch of the NSW Health and are leading the push to urge women to abstain from drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Dr Michael Nicholl who is a senior clinical advisor for obstetrics said that the latest health data showed that 47 per cent of pregnant women consumed alcohol and 20 per cent continued to drink after they found out that they were pregnant. But the problem is, as Dr Nicholl explains, when a woman drinks, so does her unborn baby. As he explains the risks are just too great to chance it.
Coincidentally the NSW government’s campaign against pregnancy drinking coincides with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Day.
As far as the state government is concerned, according to the Health Minister, the best approach to drinking during pregnancy is total abstinence, especially because we are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of babies being born with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, particularly among middle-class women in Oz.
According to University of Western Sydney Midwifery Professor Hannah Dahlen was quoted in the article as saying that some babies born with foetal alcohol syndrome were subjected to only one or two drinks a week by their mother’s during pregnancy.