England Plans To Record Pregnant Women Drinking & Sparks Backlash

England announced its controversial decision to record pregnant women drinking, and it’s sparked privacy concerns across the globe.


British moms and pregnancy advocates are both furious over a plan to punish pregnant women for drinking alcohol, even if it is just one glass of wine. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) came up with a plan to try and curb fetal alcohol syndrome by recording when a mom-to-be drinks alcohol—even if she doesn’t know that she’s pregnant yet. If the plan comes to fruition, this information will be recorded and put on the woman’s medical record without their consent.

According to the Daily Mail, NICE argues that such harsh measures will allow for England to accurately track how many moms-to-be consume alcohol and how much they do so per day. The organization hopes that tracking this data will identify children who are at risk of developing fetal alcohol syndrome.

The NHS points out that drinking alcohol while pregnant during the first trimester can lead to miscarriages, having a premature baby or a baby being born with a low birth weight. Drinking during the second and third trimesters could potentially lead to fetal alcohol syndrome. The effects range from having stunted growth to an increased risk of learning disabilities. Pregnancy charities such as the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BASP) worry that this is a violation of a woman’s privacy.

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The opinions expressed in this post are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the FASD Prevention Conversation Project, its stakeholders, or funders.

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