Pregnant Women and Drinking Advice: Very Confusing

The advice about pregnant women and drinking is very confusing. Fortunately, there are several important points to help guide those who are pregnant.

Conflicting Advice

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issues health guidelines in the UK. It concluded that it is safe for expectant mothers to consume a small drink of alcohol each day.

Two weeks later, Britain’s Department of Health changed its advice. It had recommended no more than two small drinks per day. It then recommended that pregnant women not drink any alcohol.

pregnant women and alcoholThen the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists reported that light alcohol consumption during pregnancy might affect the long-term health of the child. This was followed by a new British Medical Association Report that pregnant women should abstain from drinking alcohol.

The British Medical Journal¬†failed to clarify the issue. In it, an employee of the British Medical Association warns of “possible risks” to the foetus (or fetus). She said there is uncertainty and confusion surrounding the question. Therefore, she insisted that pregnant women should simply be told to avoid alcohol entirely.

In the same issue of the journal, a leading medical expert opposed that view. She insisted that “there is no evidence that alcohol in moderation causes harm to unborn babies.”

What to Do?

What’s a pregnant woman to do?

Several important points are worth noting:

  1. pregnant women and alcoholBecause it’s impossible to “prove a negative,” opponents of alcohol can forever say that “no safe limit on consumption has been proven”
  2. There appears to be no evidence that drinking in moderation by pregnant women has ever caused Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Nor that it has otherwise harmed a single baby. The burden of proof lies on those who contend that such drinking is harmful. However, they have not been able to do so.
  3. pregnant women and alcoholWomen who choose to drink in moderation while pregnant can do so with knowledge that their decision is consistent with scientific evidence.
  4. However, there is always the possibility that some unidentified harm to a baby might result from drinking during pregnancy.
  5. Given the above possibility, even if remote, the very safest choice for an expectant mother’s fetus would be to abstain.

Women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant should discuss the matter with their own doctor.

Resources: Pregnant Women and Drinking Advice

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This site is informational only. Thus, it does not provide health advice. Nor does it have a position on pregnant women and drinking advice or other matters.