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Avoid alcohol if pregnant

25th May 2007

Pregnant women or those trying for a baby are being advised by the government to avoid drinking alcohol and not to get drunk.

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The Department of Health advice replaces existing guidance that suggests that one to two units such as a couple of glasses of wine per week are acceptable.

The Department said the revision was not based on new scientific evidence but was needed to help ensure that women did not underestimate the risks of alcohol and also to provide what it describes as “stronger consistent advice for the whole of the UK.?

The change follows concerns from some organisations that there is no safe amount of alcohol that mothers-to-be can drink. Heavy consumption during pregnancy is known to be damaging to the unborn child, with some evidence that binge drinking can affect neurodevelopment of the foetus and cause serious harm, including a condition called Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.

But the effects of more moderate intake are less clear.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says there is no evidence that a couple of units once or twice a week will do any harm to the baby.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Fiona Adshead said: “We have strengthened our advice to women to help ensure that no-one underestimates the risk to the developing foetus of drinking above the recommended safe levels. Our advice is simple: avoid alcohol if pregnant or trying to conceive.?

The National Organisation on Foetal Alcohol Syndrome estimates more than 6,000 UK children are born with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder each year.

 

 

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