Alcohol during pregnancyNew guidelines for alcohol consumption have been published [ January 8] by the UK’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dame Sally Davies, which recommend women abstain from drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

The new guidelines for pregnant women have been updated in England, Wales and Northern and are now in line with Scotland’s recommendations for alcohol consumption during pregnancy. These mirror the Royal College of Midwive’s (RCM) own long held views.

The previous guidelines (published in 1995) advised pregnant women to avoid alcohol with the proviso that if women in England, Wales and Northern Ireland did choose to drink, ‘they should limit themselves to no more than one to two units of alcohol once or twice per week and should not get drunk’.

Commenting The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Director for England Jacque Gerrard says; ‘The RCM welcomes the Chief Medical Officers review of alcohol guidance for women during pregnancy. We particularly welcome the clarity of this reviewed advice.

‘The RCM has consistently advised women to abstain from drinking alcohol when pregnant or if trying to conceive. Our message has remained the same - that there is no evidence that any level of consumption is safe for the growing baby.

‘Drinking around conception and during the first three months of pregnancy may also increase the chance of having a miscarriage. Providing pregnant women with more support and up-to-date information is paramount and advising women on the potential consequences of alcohol consumption and smoking during pregnancy should be of utmost importance to all midwives, GP’s and maternity support workers.’