Drink Tank

Tis the Season

Well, it is official; the silly season is upon us. The shops have been so excited about the festive season that they put the Christmas decorations up way before the Father’s Day BBQ went cold.

We all look forward to Christmas as an exciting and fun time to come together. However, come 3pm on 25 December most of us will collapse on the nearest couch – not only from the excessive amount of Christmas ham we just ate, but from the sheer exhaustion of getting ready and being part of all the Christmas festivities.

We have to admit, the frenzy of the festive season is a little easier when you have support from family and friends. This December Pregnant Pause with the support of NOFASD and the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education will take a light-hearted look at 12 ways we can all #ShareTheJoy this Christmas, with a social media campaign that shows how those Christmas rituals and obligations can be just a tad bit easier when we have a little help from our nearest and dearest.

This theme ties into what the Pregnant Pause campaign is all about – supporting loved ones. The campaign wants to build a community of support around pregnant mums so that they can achieve an alcohol-free pregnancy with the support of family and friends. Christmas is a particularly challenging time for mums-to-be with most of our festive get-togethers too often revolving around alcohol. The social norm is to have a generous supply with a wide variety of choices. However, research has shown that alcohol consumed during pregnancy can cause a range of health problems such as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

Why does everyone need to know this? Despite health warnings and national guidelines pointing to the risks of so-called light drinking, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare identified that a frightening 50-60 per cent of pregnancies in Australia are exposed to alcohol. Much of this exposure occurs during the period between conception and pregnancy recognition. The current Australian guidelines advise that when Pregnant or planning a pregnancy, no alcohol is the safest choice.

One proven strategy for achieving alcohol-free pregnancies is to strengthen the support network around the mother-to-be. About one-third of Australian women would be less likely to drink alcohol during pregnancy if their partner or spouse encouraged them to stop of cut back, or if their partner also stopped drinking alcohol.

Helping out and supporting pregnant mums to #ShareTheJoy this festive season can be as easy as cracking a Christmas bon bon.

A few little changes to Christmas festivities – such as having appealing alcohol-free choices handy, visible and accessible – can make a big difference. Try to be a little creative with the alcohol-free choices and offer variety, presented in an attractive way. Using garnishes, fruit, ice and fancy glassware can make a big difference. If you want to ‘rock the mock’ check out these simple mocktail recipe ideas.

So, just like we help out by holding the ladder when family are putting up the outdoor Christmas lights or we pitch in with the epic Christmas lunch cooking; this December let’s all #ShareTheJoy and help support our mums-to-be go alcohol free.

Check out the #ShareTheJoy campaign on the Pregnant Pause Facebook and Twitter pages.

If you are interested in signing up for a Pregnant Pause or finding our more about Pregnant Pause events, visit the campaign website at www.pregnantpause.com.au

The Pregnant Pause campaign in an initiative of the Foundation for Alcohol Research an Education and is supported by the Australian Government Department of Health and the ACT Government under the ACT Health Promotion Grants Program.

Louise Gray

Louise Gray is the Executive Officer of the National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (NOFASD) Australia. For over 20 years NOFASD Australia has been dedicated to supporting parents and carers of those living with FASD through a Helpline, promoting prevention initiatives and community-wide information about FASD.

Kamara Buchanan

Kamara Buchanan is a Project Officer at the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, and manages the Pregnant Pause campaign.

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