ACT News


Blokes take a pregnant pause and don't drink when your partner is expecting

Women aren't the only ones who should take a break from alcohol during pregnancy Canberra obstetrician and ACT branch president, Professor Steve Robson, says.

Professor Robson has thrown his support behind Pregnant Pause, an initiative of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, asking partners, other family members and friends to support mothers-to-be by not drinking during the pregnancy.

After more than a quarter of a century in the baby delivery business, Professor Robson believes in some respects it is the best of times and the worst of times for mothers-to-be.

"On the one hand there is more information out there for expectant mothers than ever before," he said. "On the other hand it is just too much for any one person to process."

With social media and Google now competing with health professionals and other family members who have first hand knowledge of the birth experience it can be hard to sort out good advice from the bad.

"That's why we are trying to keep the [Pregnant Pause] message as simple as possible so it will cut through," Professor Robson said.


"Nobody has any idea whether there is a safe level of alcohol use and it is extremely hard to get information about this. The only safe advice that we can give women is that they shouldn't touch alcohol when they're pregnant.

"As far as we know there is no safe level of alcohol consumption by an expectant mother during pregnancy. The only safe thing is to abstain."

This can be hard for a mum-to-be if she is surrounded by family members and friends who are living it up and getting into the grog.

"We commonly see this; partners will be drinking; girlfriends will be drinking; they'll go out for a night out and everyone around them will be drinking. It presents a huge temptation.

"One proven strategy is to have support around them; particularly their partner, also girlfriends and other family members.

"[It is really helpful if they say] we're with you on this; we're going to take a pause from drinking as well."

Professor Robson said families should look for alternative ways to have a good time.

While Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, which can manifest in the form of severe and visible deformities and disabilities, was well known other consequences of alcohol use during pregnancy were harder to detect.

"It's entirely likely a number of babies are affected in subtle ways that are very difficult to diagnose," Professor Robson said.

"It can be difficulties in learning, it can be difficulties in behaviour. These can severely affect a child's life, their ability to obtain an education and to fulfil their potential."

Canberra's Pregnant Pause campaign was launched on Tuesday.