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BMA's hard line on drink in pregnancy

The BMA has called for a complete ban on drinking in pregnancy after criticising new Government advice for not going far enough.

But some GPs were highly critical of the association's stance, saying it was patronising and unrealistic.The new BMA policy, set out in a report on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, follows the Government's revised guidance last week which recommended pregnant women avoid alcohol altogether, but added that if they chose to drink they should restrict their intake to one to two units once or twice a week.The BMA report insisted pregnant women should be told not to drink at all because they might not be able to work out what constituted a unit of alcohol. It added that until there was clear evidence on the effects of low to moderate alcohol consumption in pregnancy the best policy was to avoid alcohol. It recommended GPs should offer women who drank low to moderate levels of alcohol counselling to help them stop.Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of BMA science and ethics, said: 'Healthcare professionals need to get the message across that consuming alcohol can cause irreversible harm to the unborn child.'But Dr Trefor Roscoe, a GP in Sheffield and GPC representative for South Yorkshire, said: 'How far down the road of nannying are we going to go? If alcohol really was that dangerous in pregnancy it would have been obvious years ago. I doubt this was drawn up by GPs as GPs live in the real world.'

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