Alcohol and pregnancy — ‘Think before you Drink’ First all-island guide on alcohol and pregnancy

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Every year on the 9th September, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day is observed to raise awareness of the risks of consuming alcohol during pregnancy. To coincide with this day, the first all island guide on alcohol and pregnancy has been issued for use in Ireland. It is aimed at answering some of the questions women may have about alcohol and pregnancy. The guide has been produced as a result of collaboration between the HSE, the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland and the Western and Southern Health and Social Care Trusts. Funding for this cross border initiative has been secured from the European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme by the cross border health services partnership, Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT).


A pocket sized guide has been produced which is available throughout the health services and on relevant websites. The guide is designed to help women to answer such questions as: Can I drink alcohol when I’m pregnant? What if I have been drinking alcohol before I knew I was pregnant? How does alcohol affect the unborn baby? The guide also explains Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and the range of problems this can cause.

Dr Nazih Eldin, Head of Health Promotion at the HSE Dublin North East said: “The HSE is delighted to have been involved in the development of this leaflet, which is a useful guide for women and families. I believe it is important that every future parent knows that they can give their child complete protection against alcohol related harm simply by avoiding alcohol in pregnancy. The message isn’t just for pregnant women. Partners and friends also need to understand the risks to the unborn child and provide support and encouragement to women during an alcohol-free pregnancy.”

Commenting Edel O ‘Doherty from CAWT said: “CAWT, as the cross border partnership for the health services, is delighted to support this all-island initiative and welcomes the collaborative working by agencies in both jurisdictions in developing this useful guide on alcohol and pregnancy.”

Alcohol and Pregnancy Guide

For further information on alcohol limits see and

If you are still unsure about whether you can drink or not during pregnancy, please discuss this with your GP.


1. Funding for the Alcohol and Pregnancy pocket guide and poster has been provided by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body and delivered by Co-operation and Working Together.

2. Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) is a cross border health and social care partnership comprising the Health and Social Care Board and the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland, the border counties of the Health Service Executive (HSE) in the Republic of Ireland and the Southern and Western Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland.