The FASD Network, which was set up in Stockton by Maria Catterick after she fostered numerous children who suffered from foetal alcohol spectrum disorders, is campaigning to have machines dispensing pregnancy testing kits in pub toilets.
Ms Catterick studied the effects of FSAD and gained a master's degree from Durham University, before travelling to Canada to present her results to an international conference on the condition.
Pregnancy kits are available in pubs in Canada already with the aim of reducing binge drinking during pregnancy, and the FASD network intend to trial the initiative in the north-west of England later this year.
The theory is that many women do not know they are pregnant during the first three months, which is the time that alcohol can do the most damage to the growing foetus, so putting testing kits in pubs will encourage women to check for an unplanned pregnancy before starting a drinking session.
The NHS recommends no alcohol during pregnancy or whilst trying to get pregnant. Ms Catterick adds: "FASD is complex – one expectant mother could drink the same amount of alcohol as another, but her child could be damaged while the other foetus is unharmed.”
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