Intended for healthcare professionals


Women told that they must abstain from alcohol in pregnancy, in campaign financed by drinks industry

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 17 June 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3762
  1. Helen Mooney
  1. 1London

Drinks giant Diageo is funding a training scheme that aims to teach midwives to advise expectant mothers of the risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

The scheme, run by the National Organisation for Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS-UK), hopes to reach 10 000 midwives and one million pregnant women over five years.

In its second year the project has already trained 800 midwives with funding from Diageo, producer of brands including Guinness, Johnnie Walker, and Smirnoff. The scheme is part of the government’s drive to increase private investment in public health initiatives.

The advice given by the NOFAS differs from the Department of Health’s. The organisation advises women to abstain entirely from alcohol during pregnancy and while trying to conceive, whereas the Department of Health says that, although women should avoid alcohol during pregnancy, “if they do choose to drink, to minimise the risk to the baby, they should not drink more than 1 or 2 …

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