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RCOG response to the Chief Medical Officer Alcohol Guidelines

News 8 January 2016

The UK Chief Medical Officers have proposed new guidelines to limit the health risks associated with the consumption of alcohol. The guidelines for pregnant women have also been updated to clarify that no level of alcohol is safe to drink in pregnancy. 

Professor Alan Cameron, Vice President of Clinical Quality for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said:

“The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists reiterates that women should be well informed about the risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Consistent with our advice, abstinence from alcohol is the safest option, in particular for women trying to conceive or during the first three months of pregnancy. 

“There is no proven safe amount of alcohol a woman can drink during pregnancy. We know that heavy drinking can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and has also been linked with an increased risk of miscarriage. Although the available evidence on low-level drinking has not yet been found to be harmful to women or their babies after 12 weeks of pregnancy, we cannot rule out the risks altogether.

“It is our responsibility as healthcare professionals to be open and honest with women, explaining both the potential risks of consuming alcohol during pregnancy and the limitations of the science, and supporting them in coming to a decision for themselves. We all deal with uncertainty in our lives on a daily basis; pregnant women are no less capable of doing so.”

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For media enquiries, please contact Rebecca Jones, RCOG Media and PR Manager on 020 7772 6444 or pressoffice@rcog.org.uk