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The Don’t know? Don’t drink campaign is part of the government’s efforts to tackle fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), which is estimated to affect up to 3,000 babies born each year in New Zealand. 

See New Zealand’s cross-agency FASD Action Plan for information about other FASD prevention activities.

When a mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy, so does the baby. The alcohol can affect the baby’s growth, especially the brain. There is a risk that the child may have a range of life-long problems. FASD is preventable by being alcohol-free during pregnancy. While not all babies are affected in the same way, there is no way of knowing whether it is safe to drink. Cutting out alcohol altogether avoids any possible harm. 

There is no known safe amount and no known safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol can affect a developing baby at any time during pregnancy, including before a woman knows she is pregnant. Women are more likely to drink during early pregnancy when the pregnancy is unplanned.

In New Zealand, two out of every five babies born each year are a result of an unplanned pregnancy (24,000 births). Approximately half of women drink alcohol in early pregnancy before they know they are pregnant, inadvertently exposing their developing baby to risk. The campaign aims to reduce alcohol consumption during early pregnancy by encouraging women to stop drinking if they think they might be pregnant. 

Pre-Testie Bestie is the second phase of the Don’t Know? Don’t drink campaign.