Recovery charity delivers alcohol-free pregnancy support for expectant mothers in Oldham

Date published: 11 August 2020

Acorn Recovery Projects, a charity providing a range of recovery services across the North West, has launched a free pregnancy support service.

The service offers confidential advice, guidance and re-assurance 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 Oldham, Bury, Rochdale, 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 Officers 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% 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.

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% 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," said Louise Whitworth, Pregnancy Support Service Lead. 

"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 via phone (07583 052 031) or email (

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