Drinking when you’re pregnant? That’s gammon!

Alcohol is a depressant. This means that it slows down the messages travelling between the brain and body which affects the way you think, feel and behave. Alcohol is a very strong drug, and it can cause extreme harm to our healthLarge quantities of alcohol are poisonous but even small amounts are very dangerous for developing brains. 

If you are planning on having a baby or during pregnancy the safest option is to drink no alcohol at all  

Alcohol and pregnancy 

When you drink alcohol, it gets into your bloodstream and circulates around your body and your brain.

When a mother drinks grog while pregnant, her blood passes to the baby through the umbilical cord, alcohol and all. And, when you are breastfeeding, your baby is getting the grog too. 

 Even when the father is drinking alcohol, it will cause problems when trying to have a baby. When the father drinks, it makes it harder to get pregnant and there is evidence that it harms your baby’s development. It makes it harder for mum to avoid drinking as well and can cause stress and worry.

Alcohol will cause permanent damage to your baby’s brain. You may leave your baby with mental and physical problems that they will live with forever. One of these problems is called Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). 

The facts:

  • The only safe option is to not drink during your pregnancy.
  • If you are planning on becoming pregnant, it is safest to stop drinking while you are trying.
  • Even drinking a little bit, particularly in the first trimester of pregnancy, can negatively impact a child’s early development.
  • The more you drink, the greater the risk the risk of harm to you and your baby.
  • If you drink alcohol while you are pregnant there is no way to tell how it will affect your baby.


True or Gammon: Alcohol & Pregnancy

When Mum drinks

When mum drinks grog, her unborn baby is consuming it too. 

When grog enters the body, it travels through the mother’s blood stream and through the umbilical cord. When mum drinks alcohol it harms the unborn baby’s health and can cause:

  • Low birth weight  
  • Premature birth (born before due date) 
  • Miscarriage (losing baby before 24 weeks of pregnancy) 
  • Still birth (a baby being born dead)
  • Baby being diagnosed with FASD  

When Dad drinks

Dad’s drinking can cause big problems too. 

Studies have shown that when the father drinks grog, it can lower your partner’s chance of getting pregnant by as much as 33% decrease. There can be complications for a baby’s health which can lead to an increased chance of miscarriage or still birth.  

Not only does it cause physical problems for your baby but not drinking before and during pregnancy can help the mother stay off the grog as well. 

What is FASD?

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is caused when the mother or father drink grog before the baby is born. FASD can affect a baby’s life forever and cause mental or physical problems that will make it hard for them to learn like other people.

FASD can cause health problems that affect: 


Sometimes little ones with FASD may get upset from loud noises, sudden movement and angry voices. They may have sleep problems and find it hard to settle. You may see different features on your baby such as abnormal head size and they might struggle with their balance and coordination

Learning & Behaviour

A child with FASD will find it harder to learn. They might find it hard at school, remembering information and doing what they are told. Hyperactive behaviour and difficulty with attention and reasoning and judgment skills can impact your child’s life forever.

Social & Emotional:

Sometimes children with FASD will feel overwhelmed and struggle with their emotions. Children who must live with FASD might find it hard to connect with their mob, community and culture. Feeling alone may take a toll on their health and wellbeing.  


I think my little one might have FASD. What can I do?

If you are worried about your child’s behaviour or development, the best thing that you can do is talk to a health professional. Congress’ Child & Youth Assessment and Therapeutic Service will work with your child Our team will work with you and your child and look at:

• What your child is good at,

• What is hard for your child,

• Whether there is a name (diagnosis) for what your child struggles with, and

• What things might help you and your child at home or school

Then, if needed, our team will work with you and your child, and look at worries about their speech or how their body moves. 

Learn more about this service here. 


Healthy habits to have when you are having a baby

 It’s important for you to plan and know how you can stay away from grog while pregnant. You don’t have to feel alone during pregnancy, so make sure you find activities and hobbies that will keep your mind and body healthy.  

Having the right support around you while you’re pregnant will help you stop drinking while you’re pregnant. When you are with friends and family ask them to help you by not drinking grog as well. Let’s stay healthy together. 

Bring your elders and loved ones to appointments and keep them involved. This can help educate friends and family on how they can best support you during pregnancy.  

Stay strong and keeping talking with family. You can also talk to someone at your clinic or chat from a help line.  


Gap Clinic is no longer opening on Sundays or Public Holidays

The Mparntwe Urgent Care Clinic is open every day for any person with an urgent but not life-threatening illness and injury. Walk ins only.

 Visit the UCC website for more information.

In an emergency, always call 000.