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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 August 2006, 09:32 GMT 10:32 UK
Expectant mothers' drink problem
Pregnant woman generic
The findings follow a survey of 1,100 women about drinking
Expectant mothers in Wales have one of the highest rates of drinking alcohol during pregnancy in the UK, according to a new survey.

About one in 13 pregnant women in Wales (7.4%) are drinking more than recommended levels.

Survey organisers Johnson's Baby and the charity Tommy's said this figure is well above the national average of 4.7%.

Drinking more than recommended levels has been proven to affect the foetus.

Maybe we are not publicising enough the effects of alcohol on the foetus
Cath Jones, midwife, Wrexham

In extreme cases, drinking more than one to two units of alcohol per week when pregnant can lead to problems such as Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), experts warn.

Low birth weight, growth difficulties as well as problems with the central nervous system, developmental delays and learning difficulties are some of the risks associated with FAS.

Abnormal facial features as well as problems with muscles, heart and kidneys can also result.

Cath Jones, Community Midwife for Wrexham Maelor Hospital, said she was surprised by the survey results of 1,100 women.

"Women volunteered the information so I think we have to take the findings seriously," she said.

"Every pregnant women is asked about her alcohol consumption.

"Many young women are drinking more anyway - maybe it follows they are not reducing their alcohol levels during pregnancy, certainly not to the levels they should be."

She said that women could be ashamed if they are drinking.

"Maybe we are not publicising enough the effects of alcohol on the foetus, at its worst levels the baby can suffer from Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, this can often result in still-birth or the baby being severely compromised," she added

She said the syndrome can also lead to the placenta not functioning as well or the baby can be 'small for dates' as well other problems.

"This (drinking during pregnant) may be isn't given the same emphasis as smoking," she added.

The survey, published on Thursday, also found expectant mothers have concerns about eating the right things, getting enough sleep and keeping relaxed during pregnancy.




SEE ALSO
Drinking in Pregnancy
05 Oct 05 |  Breakfast

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