Acorn’s Pregnancy Support service relaunched earlier this week following a period of inactivity as a result of the pandemic. The free service offers confidential advice, guidance and re-assurance for anyone experiencing concerns around alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
The Pregnancy Support service aims to help women aged 18-44 and their partners or support network. It provides a safe, non-judgemental environment for women and their families to receive mentoring, counselling and education on issues surrounding alcohol consumption and pregnancy.
People can access support virtually and including online counselling, group sessions and support from peer mentors. If necessary, people can also receive support by phone, text and email.
Acorn are working with Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership (GMHSCP) throughout Bury, Rochdale, Oldham, Tameside and Glossop. The partnership forms part of the wider strategy #DRYMESTER campaign.
Despite misconceptions, guidance from the UK Chief Medical Officers states there is no safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Although the advice is clear, the UK currently has the fourth highest level of prenatal alcohol use in the world.
Since the service’s impromptu hiatus, the effects of the ongoing pandemic have resulted in even greater need for support in this area. Recent research shows an alarming rise in alcohol consumption among drinkers since the beginning of lockdown, raising concerns around a potential increase in alcohol exposed pregnancies.
One in five (21%) current and former drinkers said they were drinking more often during lockdown – Alcohol Change UK.
Issues accessing contraception during the pandemic have stoked fears that the proportion of unplanned pregnancies could be set to increase.
Department of Health and Social Care figures show that 2019 saw a 21% rise in unplanned pregnancies throughout Lancashire. Across the country, Public Health England report that around 45% of pregnancies and one third of births in England are unplanned or associated with feelings of ambivalence.
‘We’re excited to be working in partnership with Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership to raise awareness of the issues surrounding alcohol exposed pregnancy. We’ll provide a range of person-centred services to support women and their families before, during and after pregnancy.’
Louise Whitworth, Pregnancy Support Service Lead.
You can access Acorn’s pregnancy support service immediately through health visitors, maternity services, children’s centres and health centres. Alternatively, you can self-refer via phone (07583 052 031) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).