Plans that could see pregnant women who drink alcohol have their consumption recorded on their baby's medical records has caused an uproar.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service said the move would be a 'gross infringement' of data privacy and could risk trust between women and healthcare professionals.
Midwives currently ask women about what they have drunk since conception but are not obliged to record that information.
A single glass of wine consumed even before a woman knew she was pregnancy will be documented under the controversial proposal from The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), regardless of the expectant mother's consent or the stage of pregnancy.
An accurate recording of a pregnant woman's alcohol consumption will help identify children at risk of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), Nice says, a range of conditons which are often undiagnosed but can cause life-long problems.
Charities say if a woman had small amounts of alcohol before she knew she was pregnant, as is often the case for unplanned pregnancies, the risk of FASD is typically low.
Drinking just one glass of wine while pregnant, even before women know for sure they are expecting, will be recorded on their baby's medical records under controversial new proposals
Under the new plans, mothers-to-be would be urged to recall how much booze they have had at antenatal appointments, with the results formally noted in maternity records before then being transferred to those of the newborn child, according to the Times.
An accurate recording of a pregnant woman's alcohol consumption will help identify children at risk of suffering physical problems as well as issues around learning and behaviour through FASD, Nice says.
Being able to look at drinking habits is particularly key for children who are adopted or placed into care, it adds.
However, the proposed guidelines have proved controversial with charities who have blasted them as 'unjustified and disproportionate' and urged Nice to rethink the idea.
When a pregnant woman drinks, the alcohol in her bloodstream passes freely through the placenta into the foetus' blood.
Because the foetus does not have a fully developed liver, it cannot filter out the toxins from the alcohol as the mother can.
Instead, the alcohol circulates in the foetus' blood system which can harm brain cells and damage the nervous system of the developing baby throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy.
It can result in the loss of the pregnancy, and babies that survive may be left with lifelong problems.
Foetal alcohol syndrome is a type of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), the name for all the various problems that can affect children if their mother drinks alcohol in pregnancy.
Symptoms include:a head that's smaller than average poor growth – they may be smaller than average at birth, grow slowly as they get older, and be shorter than average as an adult distinctive facial features – such as small eyes, a thin upper lip, and a smooth area between the nose and upper lip, though these may become less noticeable with age movement and balance problems learning difficulties – such as problems with thinking, speech, social skills, timekeeping, maths or memory issues with attention, concentration or