Calls for a clearer message on alcohol in pregnancy
Published on: 29/06/2015
One of the UK’s leading experts in child health, Sir Al Aynsley-Green, is calling for stronger warnings on alcohol to alert women to the dangers of drinking while pregnant. His call for tougher labelling was backed by delegates at the British Medical Association annual conference.
Current guidelines say pregnant women should avoid alcohol, but if they do drink, alcohol should be limited to 1 or 2 units once or twice a week. Some doctors in the BMA will argue the guidelines are confusing, contradictory and inconsistent. They say they should be replaced with a single ‘no alcohol’ recommendation.
Sir Al Aynsley-Green is the emeritus professor of child health at University College London, honorary fellow of Oxford University and the first children’s commissioner for England. He said: “Exposure to alcohol before birth is one of the most significant causes of childhood brain damage, learning disability, poor behaviour and even criminality, affecting up to one in every 100 infants. It is entirely preventable by not drinking alcohol during pregnancy, but despite this, advice to expectant mothers in the UK and especially England is inconsistent, contradictory and confusing, and services to support diagnosis and management of affected children are inadequate.”
For more information see WebMD article here
BBC report can be viewed here
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