The health advice surrounding alcohol and pregnancy changes almost weekly, but the latest research suggests women should abstain completely if they are newly pregnant or trying to conceive.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) in the UK has revised its recommendations and now advises that even small amounts of alcohol consumed near conception or in the first trimester can increase the risk of miscarriage.
“During early pregnancy, the safest approach is to abstain from alcohol and after the first trimester keep within the recommended amounts if you do decide to have an alcohol drink.” says Chairwoman of the RCOG’s Patient Information Committee, Philippa Marsden.
Alcohol passes from the mother’s bloodstream through the placenta and into the baby’s bloodstream. Because the placenta is not a filter and the unborn baby does not have a developed liver to process the alcohol, it can affect development.
Because there is no “safe” amount of alcohol to drink during pregnancy, the HSE advises pregnant women to avoid alcohol entirely.