Recovery charity offers pregnancy support

A recovery charity is delivering a free pregnancy support service for women in Greater Manchester.

Acorn Recovery Projects, a charity providing a range of recovery services across the North West, is offering confidential advice, guidance and reassurance for anyone concerned about alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

Acorn will be working with Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership (GMHSCP) to support women and their families throughout Bury, Rochdale, Oldham, Tameside and Glossop. The partnership forms part of the wider Alcohol Exposed Pregnancy (AEP) programme.

The free support service is aimed at women aged 18-44 and their partners or support network. The service provides a safe, non-judgemental service for women and their families to receive mentoring, counselling and education on issues surrounding alcohol consumption and pregnancy. Support is not limited to women who are currently pregnant, but also those who are sexually active and identified as at risk of unplanned pregnancy.

Support can be accessed virtually and includes online counselling, group sessions and support from peer mentors. These services can also be delivered by phone, text and email where required. Despite misconceptions, the guidance from the UK chief medical officer advises that 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 with 41 per cent of women drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

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 per cent) current and former drinkers said they were drinking more often during lockdown – Alcohol Change UK.

Issues surrounding access to 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 had already seen a 21 per cent rise in unplanned pregnancies throughout Lancashire. Across the country, Public Health England report that around 45 per cent of pregnancies and one third of births in England are unplanned or associated with feelings of ambivalence.

Louise Whitworth, Alcohol Exposed Pregnancy (AEP) Service Lead
Louise Whitworth, Alcohol Exposed Pregnancy (AEP) Service Lead

‘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.’ 

Acorn’s pregnancy support service is available immediately and can be accessed through health visitors, maternity services, children’s centres and health centres. Alternatively, you can self-refer by calling 07583 052 031 or email

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