Pregnant women ‘safe to drink one glass of wine a day’

Pregnant women told 'safe to drink one glass of wine daily'

PREGNANT WOMEN CAN drink one small glass of wine a day safely, according to new official guidance.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence has reignited the debate about drinking while pregnant, by saying that drinking no more than 1.5 units a day does not harm babies.

The draft Nice consultation document, seen by the Evening Standard, recommends that women should limit their daily alcohol intake, not cut it out altogether, contrary to the Department of Health advice, which this year told women not to drink at all.

The new recommendations suggest that it is safe to drink 1.5 units of alcohol a day. A small glass of 9% alcohol wine is one unit; a bottle of alcopop is 1.4 units, while a half-pint of 3.5% lager or beer would be one unit. A 25ml measure of gin or vodka is also one unit.

A spokesman for Nice told the Daily Mail: ‘Our recommendations are based on solid evidence. There is nothing that experts have seen to back up the fact that women shouldn’t drink at all.’

The Nice guidelines are issued to doctors and are based on a comprehensive review of research on the risks of drinking in pregnancy. These risks include birth defects, miscarriage and in the long-term, delinquency among children whose mothers drink heavily.

Experts from the panel that drew up the advice do warn pregnant women to avoid alcohol in the first three months of pregnancy ‘if possible’. But that 1.5 units ‘is not associated with harm to the baby’.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said today that the ‘safest bet’ was for women not to drink at all.

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