News Supporting the Alcohol Exposed pregnancy programme in Manchester #DRYMESTER is a health awareness campaign commissioned by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership which seeks to highlight the risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy and the impact of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). The campaign encourages pregnant women or women planning a pregnancy to make every trimester a #DRYMESTER and follow new guidelines issued by the Department of Health (2016) – to keep risks to babies to a minimum, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all. #DRYMESTER asks partners, family members or friends to get involved and show support to mums-to-be by pledging to go alcohol free for one trimester each. By championing the safest approach for women during pregnancy, #DRYMESTER hopes to reduce the amount of alcohol consumed within each trimester and with it, reduce the risk of FASD. FASD stands for Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and is an umbrella term used to describe the range of lifelong disabilities that can occur as a result of drinking alcohol during pregnancy. FASD includes: Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) Partial Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Alcohol-Related Birth Defects Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder FASD includes physical, mental, behavioural and learning impairments. Symptoms include facial abnormalities, brain damage, heart defects, limb and kidney damage as well as cognitive disabilities such as learning difficulties, poor impulse control and social and mental health issues. There is no current data around the number of children affected by FASD in the UK, but recent academic research has suggested that FASD could affect between 6% and 17% of children. * #DRYMESTER recognises that there are a number of reasons why women may drink alcohol during pregnancy. One of the biggest drivers is believed to be the confusing health advice circulated in relation to how much alcohol women can safely drink during pregnancy. The campaign aims to clear up this confusion with one simple message, there’s no safe amount or safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy – GO ALCOHOL FREE, NO RISK OF FASD. Raja Mukherjee, Consultant Psychiatrist, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Service, Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust comments: “It is heartening to see GM as the first place in England taking steps to implement strategies for Alcohol Exposed Pregnancies. England has lagged behind other areas in the UK and the launch of this programme is really exciting. Those of us how have been working in this area for a while, trying to support individuals with this condition, look to this as a benchmark for other areas in the UK. This development is a beacon for other areas to model. “ Find out more about the campaign by visiting drymester.org.uk or on social media: @Drymester_GMHSC TWITTER @drymester_gmhsc INSTAGRAM @DrymesterGMHSC FACEBOOK If you’re alcohol dependent and need help going alcohol free safely, contact your midwife or GP for advice and support today. Alternatively visit drymester.org.uk for local specialist service information. *Dr Cheryl McQuire, University of Bristol and Cardiff University 2018.