Academic journal article Perspectives in Public Health

New Research States No Alcohol Consumption in Pregnancy

Academic journal article Perspectives in Public Health

New Research States No Alcohol Consumption in Pregnancy

Article excerpt

Experts have commonly disagreed on the number of units of alcohol which can be consumed in pregnancy after the first three months. Confusion has been due to differing suggestions from The Department of Health, NICE and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and a widespread lack of understanding in the general public on what constitutes a unit. The investigation of the effects of maternal drinking during pregnancy on a child's development is also complicated by confounding factors including socioeconomic status and smoking.

The majority of expert institutions emphasise that only small amounts of alcohol are appropriate after 3 months and highlight the harm caused by binge drinking (consumption of six units of alcohol or more on once occasion). General consensus is that one or two units, once or twice a week provides minimal risk to the unborn baby.

However, new research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) demonstrates the differing opinions of experts in the field.

Mary Mather, retired consultant paediatrician, and Kate Wiles, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) doctoral research fellow, Biomedical Centre, Guy's and St Thomas' National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust and King's College London, state that the safest and most ethical option is a clear recommendation from health professionals to pregnant women to abstain. …

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