HC Deb 29 January 2003 vol 398 c895W
Jim Dobbin

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what provision(a) has been made and (b) is planned to support pregnant mothers engaged in (i) alcohol and (ii) substance abuse and to protect their unborn children from such abuse. [93216]

Ms Blears

Midwives provide the majority of care for pregnant mothers as well as advice and support on healthy lifestyles including alcohol and substance misuse. Specialist staff may also be attached to antenatal clinics.

The Department produces health promotion resources which are targeted at pregnant women to reduce drinking and increase awareness of risk to the unborn child, e.g., Drinking for two. A recent survey indicated that 30 per cent. of women gave up drinking during pregnancy and around 70 per cent. of those who did drink, drank less than one unit per week on average.

Specialist alcohol treatment services provide support and treatment for people with more serious alcohol problems, including pregnant women. There are around 475 specialist alcohol treatment services in England, providing treatment worth approximately £95 million per year.

Obstetric and substance misuse services exist throughout the country. The Department of Health's Drug Misuse and Dependence—Guidelines on Clinical Management (Clinical Guidelines) recommends different approaches to deliver care to pregnant drug misusers, such as specialist midwives, or drug dependence staff attached to the antenatal clinic. The type of service in each area will depend on local circumstances, the number of pregnant drug misusers presenting for care, expertise of the obstetric and primary care services, and availability of specialist or shared-care support. Further information is available at http://www.doh.qov.uk/druqs/pdfs/dmfull.pdf