A don't drink alcohol sign that has a bottle on it and the words, "Prioritize your baby's health. Don't drink during pregnancy. Choose love, choose sobriety.

Spotlight on sober pregnancies

Aware.org stands at the forefront of a critical mission: to promote healthier pregnancies and babies by raising awareness about the risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and the harmful effects of foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).

This year, Aware.org is amplifying its efforts to spotlight the importance of preventing FASD and reducing the stigma surrounding this preventable condition.

South Africa holds the unfortunate distinction of having the world’s highest reported rate of FASD, a lifelong condition caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy. FASD affects a child’s physical and mental development, learning abilities and behaviour, impacting individuals living with FASD, their families and communities.

It is a pressing public health concern that demands attention and action. Aware.org recognises the urgency of addressing FASD, which is why it has partnered with the Foundation for Alcohol Related Research (FARR) to spearhead initiatives focused on reducing birth defects caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy on three of its community projects.

“National Pregnancy Awareness Week provides us with an opportunity to underscore the message that no amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy,” says Carmen Mohapi, managing director of Aware.org. “Through education and outreach efforts, we aim to empower expectant mothers with the knowledge and support them in making informed and wholesome decisions about their health and the health of their unborn children.”

Due to the stigma linked to FASD, pregnant women with alcohol abuse challenges are often stigmatised by their families and communities. This prevents them from seeking professional help and support, often causing them to drink more.  

“By raising awareness about the dangers of prenatal alcohol use and encouraging communities to support pregnant women to have alcohol-free and healthier pregnancies, we not only raise awareness regarding FASD but also call on communities to take collective action to decrease the births of children affected with this lifelong condition,” says Dr Leana Olivier, CEO of FARR.

Aware.org urges individuals and communities to join us in our mission to decrease the number of babies born with FASD in South Africa and support those already affected by this condition. Together, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of countless children and adults living with FASD, as well as their families.

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