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HSE Talking Health and Wellbeing Podcast, Episode 22 – Alcohol & Pregnancy

In this podcast two experts discuss Alcohol and Pregnancy. Dr Mary O’Mahony, Consultant in Public Health Medicine and Professor Maeve Eogan, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist talk to podcast host Noreen Turley about a range of issues involved including Foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). FASD Awareness Day is the 9th of September 2023.

They discuss the difficulties that some women face giving up alcohol while pregnant and the importance of providing consistent messaging to women. The clear message is that no amount of alcohol at any stage of pregnancy is safe for your baby and if you have had a drink stopping as soon as the pregnancy is confirmed is the best thing for your developing baby.

Maeve says that

We want to support women who find having an alcohol free pregnancy difficult without the‘blame and shame culture’ this can prevent women asking for help. Health care professionals need to have clear communication and have those challenging conservations with women so that we can provide support to women.

Mary explains that

The reality is that anytime alcohol is consumed during pregnancy, it passes from your blood stream through the placenta to your baby. Even a small amount of alcohol can harm a baby’s development and may have lifelong effects. But stopping drinking alcohol at any stage of pregnancy is of benefit to the baby.”

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). FASD experience lifelong challenges and need support with their physical health. They may struggle with learning, memory, attention, communication, emotional regulation, and social skills. FASD Awareness Day is the 9th of September 2023.

For further information and tips for not drinking during pregnancy contact the Drug and Alcohol Helpline on 1800 459 459 or visit and

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