Dry July

Thursday, 14 July 2016
Portland women who may become pregnant are being warned of the dangers of drinking alcohol.

The Dry July campaign has prompted Portland District Health to raise awareness about the risks of consuming alcohol when pregnant or when planning to have a baby.

PDH's health promotion team, midwifery service and drug and alcohol team have joined forces to outline the dangers of binge drinking, particularly for women who may become pregnant. July is 'Dry July' which focuses on the topic of binge drinking and encourages people to give up alcohol for the month as a fund-raiser for cancer.

PDH Midwifery Coordinator Colleen Hanmer said the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy were well known, however women should also be aware of the risks of binge drinking before becoming pregnant.

Binge drinking has been identified as being quite prevalent across Australia, and we encourage all women to read the guidelines and be aware of the potential complications,” Ms Hanmer said.

Most women stop drinking if they know they are pregnant, however, there can also be issues around not knowing you're pregnant, she said.

Binge drinking can also lead to conception issues.

The National Health and Medical Research Council's Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol specify that maternal alcohol consumption can harm the developing foetus or breastfeeding baby.

The guidelines say not drinking is the safest option for women who are pregnant or planning pregnancy and for women who are breastfeeding.

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy may result in miscarriage or stillbirth and may adversely affect lactation, infant behaviour, feeding and psychomotor development of the breastfed baby.

PDH midwifery staff have recently completed professional development training around binge drinking and the issues women face if they drink during pregnancy

PDH has extensive support services for pregnant women, including a 24/7 midwifery service, paying membership for access to education classes and local supports at the Australian Breastfeeding Association Portland branch, and an App available to breast feeding mothers.

People can find out more about Dry July and the risks of alcohol during and before pregnancy by visiting www.dryjuly.com and www.alcohol.gov.au

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