A Small Quantity of Wine is Okay for Pregnant Women

by Medindia Content Team on Oct 12 2007 1:48 PM

Pregnant women can now have wine - but in a small quantity - says the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) draft.

Contradicting the Department of Health's theory, NICE said the evidence behind the former’s call about abstinence was 'unclear'.

The draft says that women bearing a child should not drink more than 1.5 units of alcohol a day.

After examining various studies on drinking in pregnancy, the NICE advisers, which include doctors and midwives, said besides the increasing possibility of increasing the risk of miscarriage, small amounts of alcohol do not harm the unborn baby.

They claimed that instead of banning alcohol completely, pregnant women should limit their intake to 1.5 units a day and, if possible, avoid it in the first three months of pregnancy.

While a bottle of alcopop counts as 1.5 units a small glass of wine counts as one unit, as does half a pint of ordinary strength lager.

However, this draft contradicts Department of Health advice that mothers-to-be should not drink at all.

Dr David Williams, consultant obstetric physician at the Institute for Women's Health at University College London Hospitals, was very much in favour of the new draft and described the Department of Health's message of abstinence as 'draconian'.

“I think the NICE advice is accurate according to the data we have got – a total ban is not a good thing. Most claim research shows that even very small amounts of alcohol can damage the health of the unborn child,” the Daily Mail quoted him, as saying.

However, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says that abstinence is the 'safest option'.

“The message from the Government provides a simple guideline for women to follow, insofar as no alcohol means no risk,” Andrew Shennan, professor of obstetrics for the baby charity Tommy's, said.