Hundreds of Children Left Brain Damaged By Their Mums Drinking During Pregnancy
There were 272 hospital admissions of youngsters left disabled by Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, figures from the official Health and Social Care Information Centre show.
Experts believe this number, from England alone in the past 12 months, is the tip of the iceberg of undiagnosed cases.
Admissions: 272 youngsters were hospitalised after their mums boozed during pregnancy
World Health Organisation research suggests at least one in 100 babies – the equivalent to about 7,500 – are born in the UK affected by their mother’s drinking every year.
Elizabeth Mitchell, of the National Organisation for Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, told the Sunday People: “Children born with the syndrome don’t get better. They are brain damaged and it can’t be cured.
“It is an enormous problem and one that is terribly sad and vastly under-diagnosed.
”Risk: Drinking while pregnant is not advisable
Babies exposed to alcohol in the womb can suffer learning, behavioural and physical problems such as deformed limbs and facial features.
Other signs include hearing and sight loss, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and problems with the liver, kidneys and heart.
The Government advises pregnant women not to drink alcohol. But if they do, to only have up to two units of alcohol no more than twice a week.
Ms Mitchell said people often unwittingly exceed limits or drink their quota in one go.
She added: “That’s very dangerous. Binge-drinking can do heavy damage. We want the guidance changed to advise women not to drink at all in pregnancy. It’s only nine months, why take the risk?”