Newborn babies in Scotland are reportedly being tested for alcohol after research found that nearly half of women drink regularly when expecting.
The results found that 42% consume some alcohol when pregnant while 15% drink more than one or two glasses of wine a week.
The research, funded by Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity, has now prompted doctors at the Princess Royal Maternity Hospital in Glasgow to analyse samples from babies for molecules which stay inside unborn children when their mum drinks, according to the Evening Times. 750 samples of meconium, the substance passed by babies after birth, will be tested in those born at the hospital.
"Alcohol is a small molecule so it crosses the placenta easily. It can be in the amniotic fluid, it can be in the blood. The foetus metabolises alcohol the same as it gets sugar and protein," explained consultant neonatologist Dr Helen Mactier, who lead the study.
Highlighting the fact that women who drink during pregnancy was not confined to one particular social class, Dr Mactier said: "There is an assumption that all problem drinking in pregnancy is associated with poverty and there is no evidence to confirm that.”
"It is much easier to conceal problem drinking if you are affluent and if you are clever."
Mothers who are involved in the study filled in a questionnaire that asked questions about their background and lifestyle.
The aim of the testing is to identify the groups most likely to drink and the scale of alcohol consumption so that the problem can be addressed.
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