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Pregnancy (Alcohol Dangers)

Volume 978: debated on Tuesday 12 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will ensure that the possible dangers of alcohol during pregnancy are stressed in the Health Education Council's mother and baby campaign; and what is the latest information possessed by his Department on the subject.

The campaign, which was launched on 4 February, contains specific advice to mothers on the dangers of alcohol during pregnancy and I am in continuing consultation in this respect with the Health Education Council. Similar advice was also given in two of the follow-up booklets in the "Prevention and Health" series: "Reducing the Risk: Safer Pregnancy and Childbirth" (September 1977) and "Eating for Health" (September 1978).There is as yet no clear professional consensus on the foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) in this country going beyond the conclusions in Professor Kessel's article published in the November 1977 issue of "Health Trends", of which I am sending my hon. Friend a copy. The Department has sponsored the research project which he recommended, to identify excessive drinkers among pregnant women, and assess the possibility of intervention. The report is expected shortly.