Irish women are among the worst in the world for drinking during pregnancy.
According to a study of 187 countries, Ireland is estimated to have the third-highest rate of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, including Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.
To mark Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day, the HSE is launching a new information campaign to provide clarity and advice for pregnant women about drinking alcohol.
It says that no amount of alcohol at any stage of pregnancy is safe for a baby.
Marion Rackard from the HSE Alcohol Programme says: “This new Pregnancy and Alcohol campaign, including an information leaflet, poster and social media messaging, outlines the facts about FASD, and has lots of practical information for women who are pregnant or planning a family about how to plan an alcohol-free pregnancy. We know from talking to women that they can sometimes feel under pressure to drink because other people expect them to or because they don’t want people to guess that they are pregnant. The campaign also provides advice for partners, family and friends on how they can provide support and help make it easier to have an alcohol free pregnancy”.
Recent research by the HSE found that 1 in 2 people in Ireland claim they are aware of illnesses and conditions that affect babies after birth as a result of exposure to alcohol during pregnancy, however only just over 1 in 10 people state they have a good understanding of FASD, its symptoms and its cause.