Mums-To-Be Warned Over Drinking During Pregnancy

A Newcastle woman, whose adopted daughter suffers from Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), is calling on mums-to-be to give up alcohol altogether during pregnancy.

Her call comes on FASD Day, 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 Fenham, has been living with the effects of FASD since her two-year-old adopted daughter came into her life just over a year ago.

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."

"My daughter has a lot of sensory challenges; she finds it hard to cope with noise and will react aggressively towards herself, banging her head and punching herself."

"She also finds it difficult to make eye contact and her interactions, behaviour and play, aren't as they should be for a child of her age."

"FASD is not an easy diagnosis to manage. As well as the day-to-day challenges we face together, it's difficult to accept as FASD is totally preventable."

"I also know that as she grows up, my daughter will have to come to terms with the fact that she has an irreversible condition that could have been prevented."

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