New alcohol advice for mums-to-be

12 February 2015 09:57

The latest medical guidance on drinking alcohol during pregnancy advises women to avoid it entirely while trying for a baby and during the first three months after conception

The latest medical guidance on drinking alcohol during pregnancy advises women to avoid it entirely while trying for a baby and during the first three months after conception

Women should not drink any alcohol at all if they are trying for a baby or have already conceived and are in the first trimester of their pregnancy, according to new guidelines.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) had previously advised mums-to-be to restrict themselves to no more than two to four units of alcohol a week but it is now saying it is best to not drink any at all.

Women who are pregnant and intending to travel overseas can take out pregnancy travel insurance for added peace of mind.

What the guidance says

Research is yet to prove how much alcohol pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers can safely drink. The idea behind the new advice is that it is better to completely avoid the risk of alcohol harming a child by cutting it out altogether.

The guidance does say that drinking a small amount of alcohol after three months does not affect children. Women beyond the first trimester are advised to restrict drinking to no more than one to two units a couple of times a week.

RCOG says women are more likely to have a miscarriage if they drink alcohol when their baby is conceived and in the first three months afterwards.

Some of the alcohol can find its way through the placenta and into a baby's blood and affect how it develops inside the womb, particularly its brain, according to guidance.

What the RCOG experts say

Don't drink alcohol when you are trying for a baby is the advice RCOG Patient Information Committee chairwoman Philippa Marsden wants women to follow.

Ms Marsden says women can make a real difference to the health of their baby if they cut down on drinking or don't drink any alcohol at all while they are trying for a baby, pregnant or breastfeeding.

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