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 health. Large 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.
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).
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.