In the North East, around one baby each day is born with some form of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), which are caused by the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to learning difficulties, heart problems, and permanent damage to a developing baby’s brain.
There is no safe amount.
The benefits of not drinking during pregnancy cover both physical and mental development and include sight, brain development, growth, and motor skills.
NHS North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board is spreading this message via its Super Babies campaign, highlighting the benefits for babies when they’re not exposed to alcohol.
This is a digital rallying call to pregnant women, their friends and family. Combining engaging videos and eye-catching imagery, the message is clear – if you’re planning to start a family or already pregnant, you can make a Super Baby by saying no to alcohol.
Giving your baby the best start in life
Sally Dodgson is a senior midwife at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust specialising in providing women with support around the use of drugs and alcohol before and during pregnancy.
“All parents want the best for their baby and most are able to stop using alcohol completely before and during their pregnancy,” explained Sally. “If alcohol has become part of your life we can help you plan a safer pregnancy for you and your baby.
“Only you can change your alcohol use but there are lots of people who can give you support and guidance.’
Jayne Mackey from North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is also a midwife who works hard to help women stay alcohol-free during pregnancy. She said: “Abstaining from alcohol needs to be part of planning a pregnancy, to give a baby the best start in life.
Helping your baby by saying no to alcohol
“We know some pregnancies are unplanned, happy miracles, but from conception or from the first knowledge of pregnancy, a mother can help her baby by saying no to alcohol.”
Dr Neil O’Brien is a GP who has worked across the North East and North Cumbria. He said: “We’re reminding people of the benefits to babies when mums abstain from alcohol during pregnancy.
This is a really important campaign and we're determined to get the Super Babies message out there.Dr Neil O'Brien – GP
“Babies whose mums don’t drink during pregnancy are at an advantage in terms of their learning and behaviour, their organ development, emotional and social outlook, and communication. The impact is wide-reaching and long-lasting.
“Additionally, not drinking can help avoid miscarriage and low birth weights.”
The Super Babies campaign is an NHS North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board project. It will run across the region, with support from the Integrated Care Board’s partners.