In the news - latest advice on alcohol consumption for Mums-to-be
New government recommendations relating to the consumption of alcohol in pregnancy have been published this week in an attempt to increase public awareness of the possible dangers of drinking at this fragile time. This new advice recommends that both women trying to conceive and those who are already pregnant abstain from alcohol entirely; this replaces previous advice that consuming one or two units a week is acceptable.
While this new advice isn't based on any fresh scientific evidence, so you needn't worry if you have been indulging in the odd glass of wine, its introduction by the Department of Health is meant to clarify the situation and help to make all pregnant women aware of the risks that heavy alcohol consumption can have on their unborn child.
Research has suggested that 9% of pregnant women still regularly consume a level of alcohol that could be incredibly detrimental to the health of their baby, as when consumed by an expectant mother, a certain percentage will cross the placenta and be passed onto her developing baby.
Heavy alcohol consumption throughout pregnancy has been linked to developmental issues such as language problems and hyperactivity, symptoms known collectively as Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE). While very heavy alcohol consumption poses a significant risk that the baby will be born with FAS (Foetal Alcohol Syndrome), a condition that results in abnormalities of the central nervous system, impaired language and memory skills and abnormal facial features.
Over 6,000 babies a year are born with this avoidable condition each year and it is the aim of the Department of Health to greatly reduce this number by simply asking pregnant women to abstain until their baby arrives.
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