Talking about pregnancy and alcohol can be difficult, but it's one of the most important issues to raise with a pregnant mum and her partner.

An important – and delicate – topic

Alcohol and pregnancy is one of the most important issues for you to talk about to a pregnant mum and her partner – and is perhaps one of the most delicate.

This subject can’t be ignored as serious damage to the unborn baby can happen at any time during pregnancy:

  • There is no safe amount, or a safe time, for a pregnant mum to drink alcohol.
  • The placenta does not protect baby from alcohol.
  • Some of the most serious and devastating effects can occur when mums drink alcohol very early in pregnancy.

Information to help you

In your introductory conversations, you can use the Whakatipu booklet Te Kākano. It talks about the expectant mum’s wellbeing – eating well, being smoke-free, drinking water, and generally looking after herself. On page 35, it also mentions keeping alcohol-free.

Suggestions to help you

Here are some suggestions for when you talk to parents about alcohol.

  • Show as much empathy and understanding as you can – this will allow you to have a productive conversation.
  • Start off by asking something like ‘What do you know about booze and pregnancy?’
  • The answer will give you a clue about what course your conversation will take.

The danger is that parents may interpret your questions as a judgement against them, and they may clam up or become resistant.

If mum is going to struggle to stay alcohol-free, help her to access relevant support services as quickly as possible.

How does this relate to Tākai resources?

Baby wall frieze – Whakarangatiratia ahau – Make me feel special

Six things children need – Limits and boundaries through keeping drug, alcohol and smoke-free

Helpful resources for whānau