Pregnant Women and Drinking Advice: Very Confusing

Advice about pregnant women and drinking is very confusing. But there are several important points to help guide themt.

Conflicting Advice

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issues health guidelines in the UK. It concludes that it is safe for pregnant women to have a small drink of alcohol each day.

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

pregnant women and alcoholThen the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists reported that light drinking 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 not drink.

The British Medical Journal¬†failed to clarify the issue. In it, an employee of the British Medical Association warns of “possible risks” to the fetus. She said there is confusion about the question. So she said that pregnant women should not drink.

In the same issue of the journal, a leading medical expert opposed that view. She said 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 alcoholIt’s not possible to “prove a negative.” So opponents of drinking 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). The burden of proof lies on those who say that it’s harmful. But, they have not been able to do so.
  3. pregnant women and alcoholWomen who choose to drink in moderation while pregnant are consistent with scientific facts.
  4. There is the remote possibility that some unknown harm might result from drinking to the fetus.
  5. Given this possibility, even if remote, the very safest choice would be to abstain.

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

Resources: Pregnant Women and Drinking Advice

Web Pages

Note

This site gives no advice. Please see your doctor for any answers.