Mums-to-be urged to avoid any alcohol during their pregnancy

With the festive season upon us, the NHS in Leeds is reminding pregnant women to avoid any alcohol during their pregnancy, to give their child the best start in life.

The ‘No Thanks, I’m Pregnant’ campaign, developed by Leeds Health and Care Partnership in partnership with Forward Leeds, warns of the effects of drinking alcohol on unborn babies.

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is an umbrella term for several diagnoses that are all related to prenatal exposure to alcohol (i.e. while a baby is in the womb). FASD is a series of preventable birth defects, including heart defects, liver problems, and speech and language delays.

Local mum, Emma Powell, was pregnant with her baby, James, during the festive period. Emma said: ‘I’ve never been a big drinker, but even I like to have a few beverages at Christmas. I was pregnant during lockdown, so it was a year where I might have been tempted to have a drink or two otherwise.

‘Being active has always been a big part of my life, helping me keep in good health – both body and mind – so I tried to stay as active as I could manage, ensuring I left the house every single day. Overall, distraction was the key for me. I’d try not to overthink what I was missing out on but think about all the things I could do instead. I would choose something else delicious to drink, like No-secco, a mocktail or a non-alcoholic mulled wine, and have it with a yummy snack.’

Jayne Bathgate-Roche, Pathway Integration Leader at the Leeds office of the NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board (ICB), said: ‘The safest choice is not to drink any alcohol during your pregnancy. Alcohol consumption can lead to long-term harm to your baby and the more you drink, the greater the risk. It has been linked to preventable disabilities, such as birth defects, learning difficulties, behavioural problems and growth deficiencies.

‘The ‘No Thanks, I’m Pregnant’ website has information, support, and even ideas for alcohol-free activities and mocktail recipes for the festive season. It also includes advice for how you can support your pregnant partner or friend.

‘If you need support or have any concerns about consuming alcohol during pregnancy, please speak to your midwife or GP. If you see our campaign on social media, please share with anyone you know who is pregnant.’

For further information about the ‘No Thanks, I’m Pregnant’ campaign, please visit


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