Mum calls for awareness of the risks of drinking alcohol in pregnancy
The adoptive mum of a toddler with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is calling on mums-to-be to give up alcohol altogether during pregnancy.
Her call comes on FASD Day (9th September), just days after the UK’s Chief Medical Officers have confirmed official guidance that women who are pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant should avoid alcohol altogether if they want to keep the risks to their baby to a minimum.
FASD, which is estimated to affect 1 in 100 babies every year, is a series of preventable birth defects, both mental and physical, caused by drinking alcohol at any time during pregnancy. These defects only exist because of prenatal exposure to alcohol.
34-year-old single mum Libby, from Newcastle, has been living with the effects of FASD since her two-year-old adopted daughter came into her life just over a year ago.
Having worked with vulnerable people and families through her various charity roles, Libby went into the adoption process with an awareness of FASD, knowing she would be able to manage if she was matched with a child who had the condition.
When her daughter first came to live with her she had not been officially diagnosed with FASD, but Libby had a strong feeling that she had the condition because of her physical and emotional behaviour. She also showed some of the facial features associated with FASD.
Libby said: “I was aware there was a chance my daughter could have FASD before I adopted her, but as soon as we got the official diagnosis six months into the adoption, it was a huge relief. I was expecting a long battle to get the support we needed.