September is FASD Awareness Month


​Around the world, the ninth month of the year - September - is FASD awareness month – a month to raise awareness about FASD and the importance of alcohol-free pregnancies for the nine months of pregnancy.

There is no known safe amount of alcohol which can be consumed during pregnancy. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) have developed guidelines that provide health professionals, policy makers and the Australian community with evidence-based advice on the health effects of drinking alcohol. They have advised that pregnant women should not drink alcohol to prevent harm to their unborn child.  

Community events to mark FASD Awareness Month now take place around the world providing opportunities for communities to raise awareness about FASD, to pause, to reflect and consider the benefits of an alcohol-free pregnancy and to share this prevention message across the world. Check the events calendar to see if there is an event need you.

What is FASD?

FASD is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. FASD is an acquired brain injury that is caused when alcohol is consumed during pregnancy. People with FASD typically experience challenges in their daily living and need support with motor skills, physical health, learning, memory, attention, communication, emotional regulation, and social skills. FASD is a hidden disability, 80-90% of children with FASD show no visible signs and can often go undiagnosed.

In Australia an estimated 60% of pregnancies are exposed to alcohol, often before the parents are aware that they have conceived.  Research has found that even small amounts of alcohol can effect a developing foetus, with the most severe outcome being FASD. There is no safe amount of alcohol that can be consumed during pregnancy.

Raising awareness around FASD is very important as research has shown that a third of Australians aren't aware that drinking alcohol can lead to FASD.  Furthermore, one in four Australians didn't know that alcohol should be completely avoided during pregnancy.

For more information on FASD visit NOFASD Australia's FASD HUB.

How family and communities can help

Preventing FASD is the responsibility of the whole community. If your family member is pregnant, you can show them support by avoiding drinking with them and creating an alcohol-free family environment. As a community member, you can learn more about FASD, share information and raise awareness through your networks.

Getting help

If you're struggling to cut down your alcohol consumption, help is available – and it's free! The Get Healthy in Pregnancy Service is a telephone-based coaching service that provides NSW residents over 18 with a free personal health coach to guide and support them during their pregnancy. You can speak to a Get Healthy in Pregnancy Service coach by calling 1300 806 258 or sign up online.

Dedicated resources for Aboriginal women and their families are available on Your Room. For quick guides, resources and videos on how to stay off alcohol during pregnancy and the role family and friends play in supporting a pregnant woman, take a look at the Yarning about Alcohol + Pregnancy resources on Your Room.

For health information and content about pregnancy, having a young baby and how alcohol during pregnancy can affect a baby's development check out the Stay Strong and Healthy Facebook page.

For free and confidential advice 24/7 call the Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) on 1800 250 015. Counsellors are available to provide information, referrals, crisis counselling and support. Or start a Web Chat with an ADIS counsellor online Monday to Friday, 8.30am – 5pm. ADIS can also provide up-to-date information about service availability in your area during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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