A new survey has found that almost 25% of young people are unaware that women should not drink alcohol when pregnant.
There is no doubt the coronavirus pandemic has caused many people to change their plans. They may have had to hold off moving, starting a new job, or even having a family.
The crisis has also caused many to re-access their association with food and alcohol. Some have taken to healthy eating and exercise, while others have put on weight or increased their alcohol intake.
Experts have advised women to reduce how much they drink amid fears there could be a rise in babies conceived or born during lockdown with alcohol-related health problems.
Almost two thousand surveyed
This comes the National Organisation for FASD (Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders), surveyed around two thousand people in the UK, aged between 18 and 25.
Incredibly, research revealed around 25% of those asked were unaware a woman should not drink while pregnant. They did not know that, when carrying a child, a mother-to-be should avoid consuming altogether.
It also came to light that around 50% of 18 to 25-year olds only know about the dangers through social media, while 40% have discussed the issue with their teacher.
It’s unfortunate so many young adults do not seem to appreciate how dangerous it can be to consume alcohol while pregnant. It can lead to wide-ranging medical complications for the child, which could last for years.
In fact, it could have a more detrimental effect on the health of a developing child than taking Class A drugs like heroin.
Foetal alcohol syndrome
If a mother-to-be imbibes on a regular basis, it could increase the chances of the baby developing foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). This is a lifelong condition brought on by exposure to alcohol in the womb.
An estimated six to seven thousand babies are born with FAS annually. This can cause physical disability, facial deformities and possibly even cerebral palsy or other effects. Babies with FAS could also experience learning difficulties and behavioural problems.
Foetal alcohol syndrome is a widespread condition; experts believe it may be more common than autism. And young people may not have all the facts, or fully understand the risks of drinking alcohol while pregnant.
Some are concerned this could cause a growth in cases of foetal alcohol syndrome in the UK. There have been calls for better education to raise awareness of the condition and to keep young people informed.
It is sad that, a large percentage of people aged 18 to 25 do not know how hazardous it can be for women to drink while pregnant.
By familiarising the younger generation with the relevant information and explaining the risks, could we prevent the upsurge of FAS? This might help avoid a possible epidemic after lockdown.