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It is their responsibility to provide information and advice to their patients and their partners.
It is essential that the advice provided by healthcare professionals is up to date, consistent and evidence-based, in addition to the advice provided on other lifestyle choices such as drugs, smoking and nutrition.
Guidance from the UK Chief Medical Officers regarding alcohol and pregnancy states:
“If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all, to keep risks to your baby to a minimum. Drinking in pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to the baby, with the more you drink the greater the risk.”
When you suspect a pregnant woman might be drinking alcohol, early intervention is the most effective way of improving the outcome for both mother and baby. An empathetic, non-judgemental approach encourages a positive response. No matter whether a woman is newly pregnant or nearly full-term, her baby will always benefit when she stops drinking (it is critical for in cases where alcohol withdrawal might be an issue that this is done with supervision). It is also important for mothers-to-be to have the support of the father, close family members and friends. When everyone is informed about the risks, better support can be in place for pregnant women.
It is believed that the fetus is affected by alcohol in two ways.
Other adverse outcomes of maternal alcohol consumption include:
Our midwives’ booklet is widely used in training programmes
Children and young people exposed prenatally to alcohol
Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership has an extensive project focused on alcohol-exposed pregnancies
Blackpool’s Better Start Programme