Pregnant women

There has been a 48% increase in the number of babies born disabled or deformed after their mothers drank alcohol during pregnancy.

According to new figures, there were 313 cases of foetal alcohol syndrome in the UK last year, up from 212 in 2009-10.

Drinking heavily while pregnant can make developing babies "drunk in the womb", with their livers unable to process alcohol.

This can lead to children developing small and narrow eyes, a thin upper lip and a small head.

Other symptoms include hearing, heart and kidney defects, liver damage, a weak immune system, epilepsy and cerebral palsy.

Conservative MP Andrew Griffiths, who uncovered the figures, said: "Young lives are being blighted before they have even begun," and demanded more help for expectant mothers with drink problems.

Research released last week suggests that women who enjoy an occasional drink when pregnant have children who are better adjusted and better behaved than those who abstain.

According to researchers at the University of Copenhagen, children whose mothers drank up to a bottle of wine per month while pregnant were emotionally better adjusted than those whose mothers did not drink.