Pausing in a stationary position with a balloon under your t-shirt is not the usual image you think of with the words “flash mob” but this exciting ‘Pregnant Pause’ will be occurring in communities throughout WA on today.
International FASD Awareness Day is observed on the 9th of September each year. On this day, the ninth day of the ninth month of the year, we have an opportunity to pause for 99 seconds, to recognise the nine months in which alcohol and pregnancy do not mix.
Warren Harvey (Wazza) identified the need in 2011 to generate public awareness of the harms of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding in his local community of Esperance. After researching events from around the world which occur on International FASD Awareness Day, the ‘Pregnant Pause’ was chosen for the public impact a “flash mob” style event makes and it’s relative ease to organise within a community.
Today, the ‘Pregnant Pause’ is a state-wide event with a metropolitan flash mob held in inner-city Perth and other regional events occurring in Albany, Esperance, Geraldton, Harvey, Collie, Walpole, Dalyellup within the City of Bunbury, Broome and Manjimup. It is hoped that the event will continue tospread to other locations next year.
The ‘Pregnant Pause’ provides a unique opportunity for community members to participate and engage in the conversation about alcohol consumption whilst pregnant. The event also symbolises that alcohol consumption during pregnancy is a community issue and not just a woman’s concern.
Despite FASD being entirely preventable by abstaining from alcohol, one in five women continues to consume alcohol despite knowledge of the pregnancy.
Women need the support and understanding of their partners, spouses and wider family to avoid alcohol consumption and have a healthy pregnancy. It’s going to be great to see some of our WA men wearing balloons up their shirt in support of International FASD Awareness Day.