Alcohol and pregnancy guide branded 'a mess'

NICE guidance on alcohol consumption in pregnancy has been branded 'a complete mess' by the RCGP.

NICE's preliminary recommendations on antenatal care state that pregnant women should limit intake to 'less than one standard drink (1.5 units or 12g of alcohol) per day and if possible avoid alcohol in the first three months of pregnancy'.

The guidance appears to conflict with advice issued in May by the DoH that urged women to abstain from alcohol completely during pregnancy.

Long-standing guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says that women should drink no more than two units, twice a week.

Dr Sarah Jarvis, RCGP spokeswoman for women's health, said: 'It is a complete mess as it conflicts with previous advice and may actually make pregnant women less likely to follow any guidance at all.

'NICE has said that women are allowed 1.5 units a day, but it can be hard to measure this because sizes vary. A small glass of wine at home can be much bigger than a small glass in a bar,' she added.

GPs should advise abstinence if possible, but if women cannot stick to that then the occasional drink every two weeks should be fine, said Dr Jarvis.

'But pregnant women should try to avoid alcohol in the first three months,' she added.

NICE recommendations will be published in March next year.

Comment below and tell us what you think

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Vaccination tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK have led the largest-ever NHS vaccination programme in response...

RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall

Hand PCNs control of primary care infrastructure funding, says RCGP

CCG funding for primary care infrastructure should be handed to PCNs when the bodies...

Professor Martin Marshall and Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall

Talking General Practice speaks to RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul

In-house review not enough to stop 'unjust' GMC referrals, warns BMA

Doctors' leaders have repeated calls for a full independent review of the GMC referral...

Coronavirus

How widespread is long COVID in the UK?

Millions of people in the UK are living with long COVID. GPonline looks at the data...

COVID-19 vaccination sign

GP contract for autumn COVID-19 booster campaign due shortly

GP practices in England will be invited shortly to sign up for the COVID-19 autumn...