06 August 2021
There is no evidence regarding how much alcohol in pregnancy can cause harm to an unborn baby, so the best advice is to avoid any alcohol before you are thinking of getting pregnant or in pregnancy, says Jersey Midwives and the Alcohol Pathway Team.
Alcohol in pregnancy has been well debated over time, with many mixed messages about what the safe limits of alcohol consumption are.
The midwifery and paediatric team are in the process of repeating a study from 2019 looking at alcohol intake in pregnancy by testing the baby's first stool (meconium) for Ethyl glucuronide, which is a marker for metabolised alcohol.
Drinking during pregnancy can carry risks, including:
- Still birth
- Premature delivery
- Problems with their growth and development
- Lifelong behavioural and learning problems
- Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
Dana Scott, Head of Midwifery, said: "Midwives are in the ideal position to support women with additional education regarding alcohol use in pregnancy, and where to signpost women and their partners if they are worried about their alcohol use.
"Drinking in pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to the baby; the more you drink, the greater the risk and as we don't know how much alcohol can cause harm, we are advocating no alcohol in pregnancy.
"Jersey's Midwives are increasing education on the effects of alcohol in pregnancy and strengthening the relationship with the Alcohol Pathway Team, so women and their families have as much information as possible to make an informed choice throughout their pregnancy journey."
Jersey's Midwifery Team, in collaboration with the Alcohol Pathway Team, will also be publishing guidance online at gov.je to provide pregnant women with the facts around pregnancy and drinking alcohol.
Raising awareness about the effects of alcohol in pregnancy forms part of the evidence-based health promotion, health protection and ill-health prevention literature that the Midwifery Team are focusing on in collaboration with other health Professionals.
Jersey's Alcohol Pathway Team and Midwives are urging women to avoid alcohol in pregnancy, and to speak to their Midwife if they are worried about their alcohol use. They also recommend that if women are regularly drinking alcohol in pregnancy, then they should seek advice from a healthcare professional before cutting it out completely.