FOR BUB’S SAKE, A PREGNANT PAUSE FOR BOTH FROM ALCOHOL
Former Olympic swimmer Elka Whalan and her husband Thomas have a rule – coffee, dessert and alcohol are the three things that should never be enjoyed alone.
During each of Ms Whalan’s alcohol-free pregnancies, Thomas has cut back on his own drinking. Now they are encouraging other men to stay off the drink while their partners are pregnant, as a way of supporting them and getting fit themselves.
“If a man stops drinking it shows how much he wants to be involved in the pregnancy and support this,” says Ms Whalan, who is pregnant with the couple’s third child.
“A lot of men think if their wife is pregnant, it’s OK to be drinking themselves because they’ve got their designated driver.
”There’s got to be that support, that team factor.”
The Whalans are ambassadors for the new Pregnant Pause campaign, which encourages men to “take a pause” from alcohol with their pregnant partners, and to seek sponsors for their commitment.
The campaign is aimed at raising funds for foetal alcohol spectrum disorders and supporting women to abstain from drinking during pregnancy.
The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education hopes to raise $36 million from the campaign to fund research into foetal alcohol spectrum disorders, raise awareness of the disability, improve diagnosis and treatment, and support people with the condition.
“Sustained drinking by a mother during pregnancy puts her child at very high risk of developing FASD,” says foundation chief executive Michael Thorn.
“The behaviour of partners has a significant impact on whether people can resist the temptation to have a drink. Instead of targeting women we’ve decided to target blokes, with the object of having the healthiest child possible.”
Ms Whalan says she is “learning more from my babies than anything else in my life”.
With Nevada, 3, and Edison,
22 months, and another on the way, she is already talking about having more children.
“We still have more love to give,” she says.