Drinks firm Diageo funds pregnancy health initiative
Drinks company Diageo is to pay for 10,000 midwives in England and Wales to be trained to offer advice on the dangers of alcohol during pregnancy.
The Department of Health hopes the training initiative will in turn help more than one million expectant mothers over three years.
It is part of government moves to bring the private sector into public health.
The British Medical Association has expressed concern about the drinks industry funding such a scheme.
Government guidance is for pregnant women to avoid drinking alcohol, but if they do to drink only one to two units, once or twice a week.
The Department of Health said the UK Infant Feeding Survey 2005 suggested that 34% of women gave up drinking while they were pregnant, 61% drank less and 4% did not change their drinking pattern.
Public Health Minister Anne Milton said: “Midwives are one of the most trusted sources of information and advice for pregnant women. This pledge is a great example of how business can work with NHS staff to provide women with valuable information.
“This will help over a million women over the next three years to make an informed decision about drinking during their pregnancy. It will potentially improve their health and also give their baby the best start in life.”