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Canberrans urged to swap the pub for a bub

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Nearly one in five women drink while pregnant, but a new campaign is seeking to drive down the unhealthy statistic by encouraging Canberrans to banish the booze in support of their pregnant partners and friends. 

The Pregnant Pause campaign, launched on Wednesday at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, comes on the back of research showing nearly three quarters of pregnant women who drink do so with their partner. 

Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education chief executive Michael Thorn said the campaign aimed to reduce the number of expectant mothers who drank alcohol. 

"Instead of targeting women, we want to target their partners, their parents, their friends and family to try and support them during that pregnancy by going without alcohol themselves," he said. 

New mother Alice Shillabeer, who gave birth to baby Tyler a week ago, said giving up alcohol while pregnant was an obvious choice.  

"It was for the health of the baby," she said. She welcomed the campaign and hoped it would encourage people to support their pregnant friends or partners in abstaining from alcohol. 


Senior specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology Dr Steven Adair said it was safest for women to avoid all alcohol while pregnant. 

Mother-of-two Wendy Dawes is 37 weeks pregnant with her third child and she too has stopped drinking while pregnant.  

"It was for the health benefits and I just didn't feel like it," she said. 

Ms Dawes believes the campaign is great. 

"I think it's a really good idea, especially for women who do struggle to give it up and smoking as well. Something like that would probably be a good campaign," she said. 

Dr Adair said babies born with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders could suffer developmental disabilities which could affect them throughout life. 

MLA Yvette Berry said research indicated women were more likely to avoid alcohol when their partners did too. She said in Australia, babies continued to be born with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

"What is even more regrettable is that this leading cause of birth defects and intellectual disability in Australia is entirely preventable," she said. 

Mr Thorn said it was estimated as many as 1500 children were born with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders in Australia every year.

The campaign, which has been funded with a $15,000 grant from ACT Health, will feature print and radio adverts, community events and service announcements.