Pregnant women who drink alcohol will have their consumption recorded on their child’s medical records under new proposals.
A single drink consumed even before a woman knows she is pregnant will be documented whether or not she consents under the plans by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).
Identifying children at risk of disorders caused by alcohol intake during pregnancy depends on the accurate recording of the expectant mother’s drinking habits, Nice argues.
This is especially important for children adopted or placed in care, it adds. Midwives currently inquire about expectant mothers’ drinking during appointments but there is no mandatory recording of this information.
Under the proposals by Nice, women will be quizzed about alcohol at antenatal appointments and this information will be transferred to her child’s health records after birth, according to The Times.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service said the proposals may breach GDPR rules. Clare Murphy, a spokesman for the charity, said there was “no compelling research showing harm at lower levels of consumption”.
The proposals were “unjustified and disproportionate”, Ms Murphy added.
“Women do not lose their right to medical confidentiality simply because they are pregnant. Most women report drinking very little alcohol in pregnancy, if any at all, even if they may have drunk before a positive pregnancy test.”
Concerns were raised last night that the proposals will prevent women from having frank conversations with healthcare providers.
The proposals are currently under consultation and are not mandatory, but GPs typically follow guidelines published by Nice.
A Nice spokesman said: “The feedback we receive from external organisations and members of the public during this consultation will help us better understand what works, and what doesn’t, for practice in England. Stakeholders who wish to participate in the consultation are able to do so until Sept 18 2020.”