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Diageo to fund midwife training programme

Published:  14 June, 2011

Drinks producer Diageo is to fund a training programme for midwives to help them educate expectant mothers about the risks of alcohol to their unborn child.

This is a new pledge by Diageo as part of the Government's Responsibility Deal which sees big business, charities and the retail sector working together to help people live healthier lives.

The training programme will be run by the National Organisation for Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS UK) and will reach an estimated 10,000 midwives and inform at least one million pregnant women over the next three years.

Figures from Infant Feeding Survey 2005 for the UK show that: 
34% of mothers gave up drinking while they were pregnant; 
61% said they drank less during their pregnancy; and 
4% reported no change to their drinking patterns.

This pledge will widely roll out the training that has been delivered across five cities over the last two years and will provide additional training and resources for midwives.

It will arm expectant mothers with the information they need to make an informed choice about their alcohol consumption and put the health of their unborn baby first.

Simon Litherland, managing director, Diageo Great Britain, said:
"This pledge is something Diageo feels passionately about. Educating midwives and mothers about the issues that can arise when drinking alcohol when pregnant or trying to conceive is hugely important as it will potentially save many babies from being born with foetal alcohol syndrome. We are pleased to be able to support NOFAS UK so they can reach such a large number of women across the UK."

Public Health Minister Anne Milton said the initiative will help over a million women over the next three years to make an informed decision about drinking during their pregnancy that will potentially improve their health and also give their baby the best start in life.