Spring is here in Australia, and as the birds spruce up their nests, we at NOFASD Australia dust off our red shoes once again! September 9 is Red Shoes Rock Day! An international day of awareness of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). At 9:09 on the 9th day of the 9th month people across Australia, and around the world, collectively take a minute to pause and reflect on the struggles faced by individuals and families living with FASD. At NOFASD Australia, we also consider how we can come together to raise awareness about the risks of alcohol consumption and the importance of alcohol-free pregnancies.
In 2018, 79% of Australians drank alcohol at any time during the year. Given that 50% of Australian women have an unplanned pregnancy, the chance for prenatal alcohol exposure before a woman knows she is pregnant is high. 59% of Australian women have reported drinking alcohol at some time during their pregnancy. Together, we can work to reduce this number and reduce the incidence of FASD.
FASD can result in physical, intellectual, social, and emotional delays or disability. Considering the impacts of prenatal alcohol exposure can be overwhelming, but FASD Awareness Day is an opportunity to talk about how we can work together to prevent FASD. This is where your red shoes come in! Wear your red shoes throughout September and use them as a way to start a conversation about FASD prevention.
So, you have your red shoes on. Check!
You’re ready to start talking about FASD. Check!
What do you say?
- FASD is the most common preventable disability. If you are pregnant, don’t drink alcohol. If you drink alcohol, don’t get pregnant.
- Preventing FASD is a whole-of-community responsibility. Support women who are pregnant to abstain throughout their nine months.
- Mothers never intentionally put their children at risk. There is no blame.
- Increase awareness about the risks of drinking when you could be pregnant. If women are drinking, are they using contraception? If they are planning to get pregnant, have they stopped drinking?
- Friends and partners can play a major role in supporting mothers to be alcohol free. It is much easier for a woman to say no to alcohol if her partner stops drinking too.
- Support expectant mothers by organising fun alcohol-free activities, serving non-alcoholic drinks, and reducing or ceasing your own drinking.
- Breastfeeding? No alcohol is the safest way to breastfeed.
If you, or anyone you know, is or may become pregnant, drinking NO ALCOHOL is safest. View the NHMRC Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol here.
Together, we can change stigma to awareness through conversation. All kicked off by your brightest red shoes. Want to know the story behind the red shoes? Check it out here.
If you are concerned about alcohol and pregnancy, or FASD, please contact our helpline here or call 1800 860 613.
We’d love to hear what you are doing for FASD Awareness Month! Please email your stories and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on social media.