The Festive Season is upon us once again and the Broken Hill Health Service Maternity Unit is advising pregnant women to stay well hydrated during their pregnancy, particularly in the warmer months.
“We all need to remain well hydrated over the summer months but this is particularly important for pregnant women, up to two litres a day is recommended,” said Mrs Elizabeth Bennett, Midwifery Unit Manager, Broken Hill Health Service. “It’s important to stay out of the heat and consider that air-conditioned environments, whilst cool can also cause dehydration.”
Pregnant women are warned alcohol is not suitable to stay hydrated and should be avoided during pregnancy at all times.
“It can be hard to resist a celebratory drink during the festive season but alcohol has a dehydrating effect and we are urging women to consider their health and that of their unborn child,” said Mrs Bennett.
Research shows that there are clear health risks for a baby if a mother drinks alcohol in pregnancy and when breast feeding. Visiting paediatrician Dr Mirium Coderini stated: “Current evidence shows that the risk of harm to a baby is greatest when the mother drinks high levels of alcohol during pregnancy. However, low levels of alcohol may harm a baby also particularly where dehydration is a factor.”
Mrs Bennett added that the National Health and Research Council (NHMRC) recommend not drinking alcohol for women who are pregnant, are planning pregnancy, or are breastfeeding as the safest option.
“The safest thing is to stop drinking altogether while pregnant and breastfeeding.”
Alcohol has been identified as a risk to a baby’s development and can cause a range of problems including brain damage, behavioural disturbances and physical disability.
If you are pregnant and need some assistance with alcohol cessation, your local GP or Maternity Unit staff will be able to help you access support.