New research has found that one in five women continue to drink after they know they are pregnant.
The study, commissioned by the foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) and conducted by the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, identified that almost half of all pregnant women drank before realising they were pregnant, and 19.5 per cent continued to drink after they became aware that they were pregnant.
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said that the research identifies that there is a lack of knowledge about the harms of drinking while pregnant.
“There is no known safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy,” Dr Hambleton said.
“Health labels, introduced voluntarily by the alcohol industry last year, do not go far enough to influence Australia’s drinking patterns.
“More focus is needed on raising awareness for women who are planning on getting pregnant.
“In addition, more needs to be done to deter underage teenage drinkers.
“Steps must be taken to stop young teenagers from picking up the bottle or the can in the first place. We need a ban on the marketing and advertising of alcohol to teenagers.
“All alcohol advertising and promotion - including point-of-sale, packaging, naming and emerging media - should carry warnings about the negative health effects of excessive drinking.”