As a parent-to-be, it can be particularly tricky to stay on top of the multiple do’s and don’ts of pregnancy. “Do continue to exercise, don’t eat raw fish, and definitely get plenty of sleep” (there won’t be a lot of that when the baby arrives)!

Parents-to-be, of course, want to do everything they can to keep their baby safe and sound, ensuring a healthy pregnancy and safe arrival. One common question is around drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Is it safe? How much alcohol can you drink when pregnant? Can you drink in the third trimester?

In previous years it was even suggested that some types of alcohol may result in a healthier pregnancy. I’m sure many of you will have heard an old wives’ tale that recommends expectant Mothers regularly drink Guinness due to the high iron content. I was shocked to learn my Mother was given this advice in the 90s… from a doctor!

Unfortunately, parents-to-be are still receiving many mixed messages when it comes to this topic so it’s difficult to know what’s best for the baby.

However, the simple fact is that there is no evidence of a safe amount of alcohol to drink during pregnancy.

Our award winning digital #DRYMESTER campaign, commissioned by Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, was launched in May 2019 to raise awareness of this important message. It spreads the Chief Medical Officers’ guidance to parents-to-be, partners, families and friends across Greater Manchester: If you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all to keep risks to your baby to a minimum.

Recent prevalence research shows that Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD – a condition with lifelong cognitive, emotional, behavioural and physical challenges as a result of exposure to alcohol in the womb) may affect up to 3.6% of children in Greater Manchester. Shockingly, that’s the equivalent of 1,238 children born each year.

It’s more important than ever to raise awareness of the impacts of drinking alcohol during pregnancy, so this month, along with Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, C21 are proud to be launching a new extension of the campaign, introducing #DRYMESTER to workplaces across Greater Manchester. Whether it’s with employees, customers, family or friends, this new phase encourages workplaces to start the conversation about alcohol free pregnancies and spread the word – there is no safe time, and no safe amount of alcohol to drink when pregnant.

We’ve produced a range of downloadable resources to help introduce the #DRYMESTER conversation to workplaces, including posters, intranet and social graphics, a conversation guide and even a prepared learning session for employees, arming businesses with the tools they need to encourage healthy pregnancies in their workplace.

We want #DRYMESTER to be seen by as many people and businesses as possible, so we’ll also be promoting the campaign through Out Of Home Media in Bury and Rochdale. Keep your eyes peeled for our #DRYMESTER billboard, bus shelter and iWalker adverts in the town centres.

With 41% of pregnancies in the UK alcohol-exposed, we’re asking for the help of Manchester businesses, to reduce the likelihood of cases of FASD by adding healthy pregnancies to their agenda as part of their responsibility to look after the health and wellbeing of their employees. Whether that’s holding a #DRYMESTER lunch and learn session in the office, or simply posting a couple of social assets, it all helps us get one step closer to reducing the likelihood of children being born with the condition – awareness is the greatest agent for change.

For more information, visit the #DRYMESTER website, where you can learn more about FASD and find out how easy it is to introduce #DRYMESTER to your workplace.

It’s time for change — it’s time to talk #DRYMESTER.