Most youngsters people, in Khayelitsha in particular, drink alcohol while pregnant, which stunts the progress of their infants during pregnancyand once they are born
This was revealed during an International Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FASD) Day event which was held at the Solomon Tshuku Community Hall on Friday.
Shea Damonze, a counsellor, said over 50% of the youth drink alcohol during pregnancy.
Damonze conducted a two day awareness programme for FASD prevention in the area, addresssing over 70 youths.
“The focus is mostly on HIV/Aids awareness and less on unborn children... The feedback that we get from the youth we spoke to revealed that about 70% of them drank alcohol during pregnancy. They told us that there was little information regarding FAS available for them.
Noluthando Mqaba, a senior professional nurse at Site C Youth Clinic, said drinking alcohol badly affected unborn children.
“We deal with many cases whereby a child is born with FAS symptoms and mostly the mothers are youth.
Most of them drink alcohol during pregnancy, because of peer pressure. Some think they are enjoying life and that they do not know the consequences of their action. Lack of employment and poverty is also factors that drive them to drink.
Drugs also affect unborn children.
Such an event is good to give them information about drinking during pregnancy,” Mqaba said.
Sinesipho Bullet, 25, a mother of a one year old child, said she drank during her pregnancy.
“I had so little information about the consequences of drinking during pregnancy. For me, it was caused by being lonely and peer pressure most of the time.
We do need information regarding the issue and our boyfriends must also be supportive to us and not run away because we end-up being stressed, which drive us to drink.
I now tell others that drinking during pregnancy is wrong. I grew-up seeing women drinking during pregnancy,” Bullet said.
Bullet said her child was not born with FASD symbols.
Councillor Ntomboxolo Kopman, said they allocated R50 000 to address issues of substance abuse and alcohol in the area.
“Most youth are unemployed and end-up in indulging in alcohol and substance abuse. So we do prevention programmes. You always find pregnant youth in shebeens. We must teach them about the danger of drinking during pregnancy,” Kopman said.