NHS Zero Safe Limit in Pregnancy for Alcohol

NHS Zero Safe Limit for Alcohol in Pregnancy

GMTV - Pregnancy and alcohol

The NHS has revised it's guidelines to now advise that the safe level of alcohol consumption during conception and pregnancy should be zero.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Fiona Adshead said: "We have strengthened our advice to women to help ensure that no-one underestimates the risk to the developing foetus of drinking above the recommended safe levels. Our advice is simple: avoid alcohol if pregnant or trying to conceive."

The National Organisation on Foetal Alcohol Syndrome estimates more than 6,000 UK children are born with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder each year.

Dr Sheila Shribman, the National Clinical Director for Children, Young People and Maternity Services said: "Alcohol and pregnancy advice is now consistent across the UK. It is vital that we alert pregnant women and women hoping to conceive about the potential dangers of excessive alcohol consumption during pregnancy."

Researchers from
Wayne State University in Detroit report part of the increase in the number of preterm births can be blamed on alcohol consumption. They studied 3,130 pregnant women before and after delivery.

In the study, 66 of the newborns were born extremely prematurely, which is defined as 32 or fewer weeks of gestation. Researchers report alcohol, and cocaine to some extent, increased the risk of prematurity. The more alcohol a woman reported consuming, the more likely she was to be one of the women who delivered extremely premature. Study authors write they do not have a full explanation for why alcohol and cocaine use affected women older than 30 more than younger mothers. Mothers who did not drink or use drugs while pregnant had a 41 percent decreased chance of delivering extremely premature. Cigarette smoking was not linked to extreme prematurity.

Research was conducted primarily on black women so more studies needed to verify findings are relevant to populations as a whole.