MUMS-to-be joined NHS staff in Newport yesterday to highlight the dangers of drinking alcohol while pregnant.

The Pregnant Pause, a nine minutes' silence at Asda in Pill, was part of a UK-wide awareness raising effort by NOFAS-UK, the National Organisation on Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Around 6,000 children are born in the UK every year with FASD (Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder), which causes lifelong physical and mental problems in babies whose mothers drink whilst pregnant.

"NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) guidelines aren't as conclusive as NOFAS guidelines," said community midwife Elaine Protheroe, who works closely with Gwent's Specialist Substance Misuse Service.

Mrs Protheroe said more evidence is emerging that no alcohol is best, and added: "Foetal alcohol syndrome is 100 per cent preventable."

Newport mums-to-be Kerry Sharpley, 30, and Carla Burns, 21, gave up alcohol during their pregnancies.

Ms Burns is expecting her first child in two months.

"I enjoyed a drink, but tend to stay in now and watch a lot of TV. I don't see my friends so much because that removes the temptation. Not drinking is the safest thing for your baby."

Ms Sharpley, due later this month, drank through her first pregnancy and has been a binge drinker.

"Luckily my son's OK and I got away with it. I haven't drunk at all this time. It's been completely different," she said.