Pregnant women could be advised to drink no alcohol under new NHS guidelines

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11 Nov 2015

The UK's chief medical officer is considering lowering the safe level of alcohol consumption and advising pregnant women not to drink at all.

Dame Sally Davies is currently review guidelines on how much alcohol is healthy to drink.

The current recommendations have been used since they were issued in the government report entitled ‘Sensible Drinking’ was published in 1995.

They recommend three to four units for a man, the equivalent of a strong 5.2 per cent pint of beer, and two to three units for women, which equates to a 175ml glass of wine of 13 per cent.

But since the 1995 report was published scientists have learned more about how alcohol can cause cancer and premature ageing. Critics also say that current guidance fails to emphasise the importance of having drink-free days.

In Scotland drinkers are advised to abstain for at least two days a week.

New guidelines will be published next year, and they are expected to be significantly lowered to bring them in line with current thinking by health experts.

The Royal College of Physicians has called for weekly alcohol levels to be reduced from 28 units to 21 units for men, and from 21 units to 14 unit for women.

A report from the RCP also suggested that over 65s people should limit their intake to 11 units for men and seven for women because older people struggled to process alcohol as effectively.

And it advised that both men and women should have at least three alcohol free days a week.

Last month the American Academy of Pediatrics advised that no alcohol is safe for women when preganant.

However the Department of Health said that no decision had yet been taken and Dame Sally and health experts were still working out the detail.

Research shows that many people who drink do not realise how much they consume.

Around one quarter of adults reported drinking at above guideline levels.


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