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Drinking alcohol during pregnancy

There is currently NO research to say drinking alcohol in pregnancy is safe.

Many studies have shown that large quantities of alcohol (more than 6 units per day) may have serious implications to your pregnancy and baby.

Alcohol in the bloodstream passes through into your placenta and to your baby. A babies liver is not properly developed until the later stages of pregnancy, so it will not have the ability to process alcohol as you would.

Foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) in children, can be a result of heavy drinking. Children with FAS have; restricted growth, facial abnormalities and learning and behavioural disorders.

Alcohol consumption during the first 3 months of pregnancy has been proven to increase the risk of miscarriage and foetal abnormalities, as well as premature birth and low birth weight. During the second half of pregnancy drinking alcohol may effect your baby’s growth and development.

It is therefore recommended by the Department of Health (DoH) that alcohol during pregnancy should be completely avoided.

NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) advises to avoid alcohol for the first 3 month and thereafter drink no more than one or two units once or twice per week.

The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG) have also suggested it safest not to drink alcohol at all through pregnancy, but has added that one to two units per week have not shown to do harm.

One UK unit of alcohol is 10ml (eight grams) of pure alcohol, the equivalent of:

  • half a pint of beer/lager or cider at 3.5%
  • a single measure (25ml) of spirit (whisky, gin, rum or vodka) at 40%
  • half a glass (175ml) of wine at 11.5%

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