LAUNCH DAY: Councillor Danita Potter, Haidee Grieshaber and Rachael Bryett with Kirstin Firman, Dianne Perrin and Kerry Oldfield at the Healthy Pregnancies and Bright Futures workshop at the Nanango Library. Photo: Laura Blackmore
LAUNCH DAY: Councillor Danita Potter, Haidee Grieshaber and Rachael Bryett with Kirstin Firman, Dianne Perrin and Kerry Oldfield at the Healthy Pregnancies and Bright Futures workshop at the Nanango Library. Photo: Laura Blackmore

Program addresses ‘emerging’ health issue in region

ONE in every 13 women who consume alcohol during pregnancy will have a child with FASD, research conducted by the National Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Organisation reveals.

The term FASD is commonly used to describe the impacts to an individual prenatally exposed to alcohol, which can create a lifelong disability to the brain and body.

Now, the South Burnett Regional Council, in partnership with the Local Drug Action Team, have officially launched a new initiative in the region to help tackle this health issue.

Healthy Pregnancies and Bright Futures was born out of the need to raise awareness about FASD and create supportive communities for pregnant women.

CTC Youth Services manager Kirstin Firman said she was proud to be part of the LDAT committee that helped get the project up and running in the South Burnett.

“It was a topic we thought was very important and needed to be addressed in the community,” Ms Firman said.

“At the workshops we talk about where the alcohol and drug journey can actually start with FASD, which is in the womb.”

Dianne Perrin and Danita Potter at the Healthy Pregnancies and Bright Futures workshop at the Nanango Library.
Dianne Perrin and Danita Potter at the Healthy Pregnancies and Bright Futures workshop at the Nanango Library.

Throughout the workshops held at South Burnett’s libraries, health professionals covered a wide range of topics including the characteristics of FASD from infancy to adulthood, and also busted myths about pregnancy.

Lives Lived Well drug and alcohol counsellor Dianne Perrin ran the morning session at the Nanango Library on Tuesday, February 4.

She said there needed to be a culture change when dealing with cases of FASD.

“The more information and the more times it is repeated, the more common knowledge it will be,” Ms Perrin said.

“I think that they have agreed it is an emerging issue for the community and one that hasn’t really been out there in common circulation or knowledge.

“People know they are not supposed to drink when they are pregnant but they sometimes don’t know why, so hopefully we have been able to create the link for them.”

Siblings Zephyr, Knox and Aila Flint paint with Anna Garside at the Healthy Pregnancies and Bright Futures workshop at the Nanango Library. Photo: Laura Blackmore
Siblings Zephyr, Knox and Aila Flint paint with Anna Garside at the Healthy Pregnancies and Bright Futures workshop at the Nanango Library. Photo: Laura Blackmore

Looking to the future, LDAT project officer Kerry Oldfield said the next stage for the Healthy Pregnancies and Bright Futures program was to expand it.

“We all need to know more about it (FASD) as a whole community,” Ms Oldfield said.

“We need to step up and support each other better, especially for people who are living with FASD, and support families and parents to be to make the right choices when they are planning a pregnancy or thinking of starting a family.

“I am trying to organise some information sessions for our community groups and service providers.

“It’s a big job and time can be against us but we have to make a start somewhere.”