Can I Drink Alcohol While Pregnant? NHS And NICE Advice And Recommendations

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is a hotly debated topic. Sometimes, the conflicting advice is so overwhelming it's hard to know where to start.

According to the NHS guide to alcohol and pregnancy, the UK Chief Medical Officers’ advice to women states: "Women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should avoid alcohol altogether.

"However, if they do choose to drink, to minimise the risk to the baby, we recommend they should not drink more than one or two units once or twice a week and should not get drunk."

The definitive answer to drinking whilst pregnant

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which advises healthcare professionals (GPs and nurses), has also written advice on the issue.

It says: "Pregnant women and women planning to become pregnant should be advised not to drink alcohol in the first three months of pregnancy, because there may be an increased risk of miscarriage.

"Women should be advised that if they choose to drink alcohol while they are pregnant, they should drink no more than one or two units of alcohol, once or twice a week.

"There is uncertainty about how much alcohol is safe to drink in pregnancy, but if a low level is consumed there is no evidence of harm to an unborn baby."

"Women should be advised not get too drunk or binge drink (drinking more than 7.5 UK units of alcohol on a single occasion) while they are pregnant, because this can harm their unborn baby," the NICE guidelines continue.

"If women want to avoid all possible alcohol-related risks, they should not drink alcohol during pregnancy, as the evidence on this is limited."