Those who have consistently campaigned for it to be a crime if a mother drinks excessive amounts of alcohol during pregnancy may achieve success soon. There is currently a landmark case related to this issue currently in the waiting line for hearing by the Court of Appeal.
If this case is heard, there will be arguments related to the brain damage suffered by a six-year old because, although warned about the dangers, her mother continued to consume alcohol during her pregnancy. The Department of Health has shown that about one in every 100 babies born now suffer with disorders related to alcohol consumption. There has been an increase of 50% in the cases of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome. During 2012/2013, 313 babies were found to be affected by the syndrome. Many experts are of the opinion that the rates are in fact much higher than stated.
Dr Raja Mukherjee, a consultant psychiatrist, has warned that it is not necessary for mothers-to-be to binge drink for their foetus to be at risk. He has stated that the best way to avoid harm to the foetus is to avoid alcohol consumption throughout pregnancy.
He further stated that it does not mean those who have consumed alcohol in moderate amounts would have damaged their baby. The chances are fairly good that the foetus has not been harmed. However, to be absolutely sure and for safety reasons, then complete abstinence from alcohol is the best option.
The adoptive mother of a 15 year old affected by this syndrome has stated that mothers should be educated. They should be made aware that it is best to abstain from alcohol whilst pregnant. She also stated that it cannot become a criminal offence if you are still allowed to drink in moderation. The ruling should call for total abstinence.
Image credit: Ondřej Lipár