All alcoholic drinks should carry a health warning for pregnant women, a parliamentary committee says.
Source
AAP
UPDATED 10:48 AM - 26 Aug 2013

All alcoholic drinks should carry a health warning for pregnant women, a parliamentary committee says.

The warning - basically, if you're pregnant, don't drink - is a key recommendation of a report into the "entirely preventable but incurable" Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).

Graham Perrett, chair of the Social Policy and Legal Affairs committee whose report into FASD was tabled on Thursday, said the disorders were hidden in damaged brains.

"It may masquerade as naughty behaviour, poor parenting, lack of discipline or simple mindedness," Mr Perrett said.

"It is none of these things." He said the condition was caused by exposure to alcohol in the womb.

"The consequences are expressed along a spectrum of disabilities including physical, cognitive, intellectual, learning, behavioural, social and executive functioning abnormalities and problems with communication, motor skills, attention and memory," he said.

Mr Perrett that while the risk of a disorder increased with the amount of alcohol a pregnant woman drank, it was not widely known that even small amounts, at critical times, could cause irrevocable damage to the fetus.

Liberal committee member Sharman Stone said there was a simple answer: "Just don't drink for the nine months of your pregnancy."

Dr Stone said too many doctors were failing to ask pregnant woman about their drinking habits.

She said there were also too many cases of young women binge drinking, having unprotected sex and then continuing to drink without realising they were pregnant.

Dr Stone said the government was so proud of its tobacco labelling laws but had done nothing about alcohol.

The committee received expert opinion that the true incidence of the disorders in Australia was unknown. However several bodies believed it was under-reported and there was evidence that it was relatively high in some Aboriginal communities.

The committee recommended a national action plan to oversee research and develop strategies to end drinking in pregnancy. It also recommended labels warning of the risks of alcohol on