Spotlighting the Dangers of Drinking During Pregnancy
The AMA on International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Day joined with a range of health groups – including the Australian FASD Network, NOFASD Australia, and the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) – in raising awareness about the health dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
FASD refers to a range of disabilities (learning, behavioural, and developmental) that result from alcohol exposure during pregnancy.
Alcohol consumed during pregnancy crosses the placenta and can cause complications of pregnancy and damage to the developing fetus, including FASD. The risks are greatest with high, frequent alcohol consumption during the first trimester of pregnancy.
AMA President, Professor Brian Owler, said today that FASD is the most common preventable cause of non-genetic developmental disability in Australia.
“The key to reducing alcohol-related harms is a change in the Australian drinking culture, with a new focus on promoting and encouraging more responsible alcohol consumption,” Professor Owler said.
“Any attempts to tackle FASD must occur within a coordinated, comprehensive whole-of-government approach to reducing harmful drinking across the population.”
Professor Owler said that it is vitally important that all health professionals, including GPs, are trained and supported to ask women about their alcohol consumption.
“The AMA and other health groups are strong supporters of campaigns to equip health professionals with information and resources to educate patients about alcohol and pregnancy,” Professor Owler said.