Letter to the editor: alcohol and pregnancy

Date Published

17th October 2019




Letter to the editor:

The statement in your article on alcohol and pregnancy [p12, October 14, 2019] that ‘Drinkaware in the UK are publishing information saying that “light drinking” in pregnancy is safe’ is utterly false. Nowhere on our website are there any such statements. On the contrary we advise prominently and unequivocally that "the safest approach is not to drink at all during pregnancy" and we refer clearly to the Chief Medical Officers' guidelines in this respect. We also set out in detail on our website the risks of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome; information that can be accessed in just a maximum of three clicks from our homepage.

As regards Drinkaware, the article and the research on which it is based are inaccurate and baseless. As your article makes clear, all of the information we provide is overseen and verified by an independent Medical Advisory Panel consisting of highly experienced health professionals. Indeed, the charges levelled against Drinkaware are without any foundation. For example, it is suggested that our information ‘confuses matters by adding: "How a baby will be affected depends on how much its mother drinks”’; far from 'confusing matters' this is simply a statement of fact.

We have several pages with detailed and impartial guidance to help people find out about fertility and alcohol, including our page on Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) which has received over 14,000 unique views since January 2019. We stand by our advice that the safest approach is not to drink at all during pregnancy, or while trying to conceive. We would urge anybody in doubt to visit our website to view what we say.

Yours faithfully,

Sir Leigh Lewis, Chairman, Drinkaware and Elaine Hindal, CEO, Drinkaware