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RCOG statement on new research on drinking during pregnancy

News 12 September 2017

New research published in BMJ Open suggests evidence for the potentially harmful effects of light or occasional drinking in pregnancy is 'surprisingly limited', but women are still better off avoiding all alcohol while pregnant. 

Commenting in response, Dr Daghni Rajasingam, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said: 

“As there is no proven safe amount of alcohol women can drink during pregnancy, abstinence is the safest option, particularly for women trying to conceive or those in the first three months of pregnancy. While this study adds to the evidence that drinking 1-2 units of alcohol a week after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy is unlikely to have a harmful impact on the baby or pregnancy, we cannot rule out the risks altogether.  

“It’s important that women are informed about the risks associated with heavy drinking during pregnancy, including fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and an increased risk of miscarriage, but healthcare professionals should also be open and honest about the limitations of the science in relation to drinking 1-2 units a week during pregnancy, supporting them in coming to a decision for themselves."


Note to Editors

For media enquiries please contact the RCOG press office on +44 (0)20 7045 6773 or email

About the RCOG
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is a medical charity that champions the provision of high quality women’s healthcare in the UK and beyond. It is dedicated to encouraging the study and advancing the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. It does this through postgraduate medical education and training and the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of the specialty and service provision.