pregnancy testing kits may be made available in pubs as part of a drive to stop expectant mothers in Scotland from drinking alcohol.

The Scottish Government has launched a two-pronged approach to tackle growing concern about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) - a condition caused by exposure to alcohol in the womb which can lead to serious learning and behavioural problems.

An information pack has been circulated to all Scottish health boards urging them to spread the message that women should stop drinking alcohol completely when pregnant to avoid putting their baby at risk.

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A training programme has also been created to help NHS staff spot symptoms of FASD amid concern many children suffer it but remain undiagnosed.

Further measures are also being looked at to spread the message that during pregnancy no alcohol equals no risk. These include adopting a Canadian scheme where pregnancy testing kit dispensers displaying the message "Think before you drink" have been placed inside the ladies' toilets in bars.

It is estimated that 10,000 children in Scotland are currently affected by FASD.

Dr Maggie Watts, FASD co-ordinator for Scotland, said in the early weeks before a mother may even realise she is pregnant alcohol can affect her baby's development. Facial deformities caused by exposure to the toxins, including wide spacing between the eyes and a thin upper lip, are associated with this time.

However, Dr Watts continued: "The baby's brain is developing throughout pregnancy. Alcohol disrupts pathways so when brain cells are migrating to where they need to be they are not making the linkages or they are making the wrong linkages.

"If you do brain scans of people with FASD you find they fire off all different parts of the brain rather than the part of the brain you or I would fire off."

This can lead to a range of ­problems, including difficulty following instructions, connecting causes and effects and building relationships.

Dr Watts said: "Although their IQ may be normal their emotional intelligence is not anything like as high. You have a child of 18, who talks very well with good expressive language but whose social skills are the equivalent of a six-year-old."

Some studies have shown light drinking - one 175ml glass of wine a week - during pregnancy does not harm the fetus. However, in 2007 Department of Health guidance was changed from ­limiting consumption to one to two units of alcohol weekly to abstinence.

Dr Watts said: "We just don't know the risks... But we do know that your baby could come to fetal alcohol harm, so for safety keep your baby safe and do not drink."

Caroline Hutchens, from Glasgow, guessed her adopted son Logan may be suffering from FASD when he was still a baby - even though alcohol was not the reason he had been placed in her care.

She said: "Having bubbles in his bath, brushing his teeth, going to a birthday party or the theatre or the cinema - things that most children love - can cause him distress.

"I feel hugely sad that alcohol has had this affect on his life."

Eileen Calder, director of the support organisation FASD ­Scotland, said this year an FASD awareness day was run to coincide with university freshers' week.She said: "We found only a few women who knew of the risks of alcohol exposure to their baby while pregnant."