Thursday (9 September) is Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day.
FASD is a preventable condition that the World Health Organisation reports affects one in 100 babies.
Symptoms of FASD can be physical as well as mental and can include damage to the brain, kidneys and limbs as well as low set ears and a flat philtrum (the vertical groove between the nose and top lip).
Children with FASD can also demonstrate learning difficulties, poor impulse control, problems in memory, attention or judgment, or problems in social understanding. This can lead to them being misdiagnosed as having autism and Asperger’s syndrome.
Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Ashton-based hospital, has been offering advice and guidance to pregnant women through a programme, rolled out across Greater Manchester, which focuses on prevention, early intervention and awareness raising.
The Trust said it became apparent, after it carried out research, that people are unaware of the impact alcohol consumption during pregnancy has on the developing foetus and child.
#Drymester is a campaign to inspire and support people to go alcohol free when pregnant or planning a pregnancy and convey the message that when it comes to alcohol, there's no safe time and no safe amount to drink during pregnancy.
Sally Morgan, Advanced Maternity Support Worker and the Trust’s FASD Champion, said: "Pregnancy is a unique time in someone’s life so it is a golden opportunity for people to make changes in their lives, for the better, to improve their health. It is our role to give parents the right information so that they can make an informed decision about alcohol and their pregnancy.
“We promote the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines that if you are pregnant or think you could become pregnant, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all, to keep risks to your baby to a minimum. Drinking in pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to the baby, with the more you drink the greater the risk.”
Sally and her colleagues will be available in the Anti-Natal Clinic on Thursday (9 September) to answer any questions that pregnant people and their partners have around FASD and #Drymester.
People can find out more about #Drymester by visiting https://www.drymester.org.uk/ or using the hashtag on social media.