Drinking whilst pregnant will affect your child, fact.
A new research paper has assessed the impact on learning of children suffering from foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and it provides a wake-up call to the consequences of drinking alcohol whilst pregnant.
Swanswell, a national charity that helps people overcome drug, alcohol and other problem behaviour, believes research such as this adds weight to the need for clearer guidance for mums-to-be about the risks to their health and that of their unborn child.
Debbie Bannigan, Chief Executive of Swanswell, says: ‘This research paper is written by one of the UK’s leading authorities on the effects of drinking while pregnant, and is clearevidence that during this time alcohol should simply be avoided. To advise anything else only causes confusion.
Written by Professor Barry Carpenter OBE the paper investigates the challenges of teaching children diagnosed with FASD – the range of conditions caused by excessive exposure to alcohol in the womb.
The research led to a national study which shows how we must act urgently to skill-up teachers, to educate children with FASD.
Debbie continues: "There is already a bewildering amount of health advice out there for expectant mothers - they have enough to deal with without worrying about how much alcohol they can ‘safely’ consume.
"Within the space of two days this summer, the public were told that the Government was likely to increase its safe alcohol limits, and that new research had found that alcohol damages the DNA of unborn children beyond repair.
"The Government and public bodies have a duty to keep it clear and simple – if you want to avoid risking the health of your child, don't drink when pregnant."
FASD affects around one per cent of births in Europe, and sufferers display a range of physical and mental symptoms.
One of the key findings – and perhaps most surprising – is that those affected by FASD represent the largest group of children with learning difficulties not caused by a genetic condition.
The research paper details how more guidance is needed to help teachers deal with the unusual learning style and extreme challenging behaviour experienced as a result of FASD, which Professor Carpenter believes only government-led approaches can improve.
Swanswell believes the research paper highlights some of the serious consequences of drinking while pregnant but adds that clear information should also be made available to mums-to-be, as ultimately the decision to drink or not rests with them.