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RCOG updates information on alcohol consumption

10 February, 2015

RCOG updates information on alcohol consumption

Alcohol-intake advice for those trying to conceive or in the first three months of pregnancy has been updated today (10 February) by the RCOG.

The advice comes in updated patient information and includes what is thought to be a safe amount of alcohol before and during pregnancy.

It has also outlined the effect of drinking above a safe limit on the baby’s development in the womb.

RCM professional policy advisor Janet Fyle said that the evidence suggested that the cumulative effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy caused harm to the developing fetus and can have adverse impacts on the newborn.

‘This is why the RCM continues to advise women to abstain from drinking alcohol when pregnant or if trying to conceive. We also encourage midwives to have a discussion with pregnant women about these consequences in a non-judgemental way and provide them with appropriate and up-to-date information on alcohol in pregnancy,’ she said.

The RCOG leaflet has said that the only way to be certain that the baby is not harmed by alcohol is to abstain from drinking during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

It has also said that small amounts of alcohol after the first trimester do not appear to be harmful.

But during the first trimester, the guidance said that alcohol may affect the unborn baby as some will pass through the placenta.

Drinking around conception and during the first three months may also increase the chance of miscarriage.

After this time, women are advised to not drink more than one to two units more than once or twice a week.

The information has also covered fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and the more severe fetal alcohol syndrome, which can lead to children having physical and mental disabilities.  

Visit the patient section of the RCOG website here for all patient information leaflets.


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