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New research on alcohol consumption during pregnancy

Researchers have conducted a survey of nearly 8000 women in 11 European countries, to investigate their levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and their attitudes towards drinking whilst pregnant. The study, published in the journal Women And Birth, surveyed women from the UK, Croatia, Finland, France, Italy, Norway, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, and Sweden. The full text is available online here.

Katherine O'Brien, Head of Media and Policy Research at bpas, commented:

"This study confirms that the majority of women in the UK do not consume alcohol during pregnancy, and that almost all pregnant women who drink do so at extremely low levels for which there is no evidence of harm. Of the 28.5% of women who drank alcohol while they knew they were pregnant, almost all did so within the NICE guidelines of 1-2 units of alcohol, once or twice per week. Indeed, less than half consumed one unit or more a month. This could be a champagne toast at a wedding or a small glass of wine with a meal. These figures should not be sensationalised to misrepresent a nation of binge-drinking mums-to-be.

"We also must not overstate the risks from consuming small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy. At bpas, we see women who are so concerned about their alcohol consumption –often before they even realised they were pregnant – that they are considering ending an otherwise wanted pregnancy. Pregnant women need accurate information, not scaremongering, about the effect of low levels of alcohol consumption."


For more information please contact the bpas press office on 0207 061 3377 or email press@bpas.org

Notes to Editors:

About bpas

bpas is a charity which sees more than 70,000 women a year and provides reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception, at clinics across the UK. It supports and advocates for reproductive choice. More information can be found at bpas.org