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Pregnant women should stay off drink, say midwives

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The Royal College of Midwives has called for pregnant women to stay off drink following research that found there was no link between binge-drinking in pregnancy and health problems in unborn babies.

A study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, which pooled findings of 14 previous trials, found there was no link between binge drinking and problems such as stillbirth, miscarriage and birth defects.

But Mervi Jokinen, practice and standards development advisor for the RCM, said: ‘The RCM is deeply concerned that this study could imply that there is little substantive evidence that binge drinking while pregnant seriously harms a developing foetus and gives the impression that drinking during pregnancy is safe.

‘Previous research indicates that alcohol consumption of even around 15 units a week may lead to a reduction in birth weight and affect intellectual development.

‘The Royal College of Midwives would support the current recommendations that women who are considering pregnancy or who are pregnant should avoid any alcohol intake.’
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