‘Dont drink’ warning for pregnant women
March 18, 2007
Women will be told not to drink alcohol while pregnant or when trying for a baby, under Government plans to stick warning labels on bottles of booze.
Health ministers have met drinks industry bosses to encourage them to label bottles of wine, spirits and beer with a message of abstinence for mothers-to-be.
The move comes amid fears about women binge-drinking and the risk of brain damage to babies caused by drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
Public health minister Caroline Flint wants the labels to read: ‘Avoid alcohol if you are pregnant or trying to conceive.’
Women are advised by the Department of Health that two units of alcohol equivalent to a small glass of wine a day, once or twice a week, is an acceptable amount to drink while pregnant.
But proposals for a total ban on drinking were welcomed by campaigners.
Susan Fleisher, of the National Organisation on Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, said: ‘Because no one can prove what is safe, if you can avoid alcohol we recommend abstaining for nine months.’
The drinks industry is expected to oppose a ban on women drinking, which is set to be introduced later this year in France.
Pregnant women in the US are already banned from drinking.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said ‘constructive discussions’ about the warning labels had taken place but insisted any measure would be voluntary for manufacturers.
She added: ‘It is still in its early stages and we wouldn’t consider legislating yet.’