“Increases in the number of young women drinking at hazardous levels could potentially increase the occurrence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in future generations,” says Gerard Vaughan, Chief Executive of the Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC).
Speaking on the eve of International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day (9/9/10) Mr Vaughan said the rates of hazardous drinking among women aged 25 to 34 over the past decade had increased from 14 to 18 percent (Law Commission report).
“Binge drinking is a major issue for many New Zealanders and some women are continuing to drink while pregnant.”
“We support the Ministry of Health’s advice that there is no safe level of drinking at any stage during pregnancy and the need for health professionals to give consistent advice to pregnant women.”
“Friends and families also have a role in supporting and encouraging pregnant women to not drink while pregnant,” he said.
Health professionals providing advice complements other initiatives including: work to improve the diagnosis of FASD; research on its prevalence; support for those diagnosed with FASD and their families; and the use of health advisory labels.
ALAC currently has an application with the Food Standards Australia New Zealand for health advisory labelling on alcohol containers to caution against drinking during pregnancy.