A new British Medical Association (BMA) report published this week has criticised recent government guidelines on drinking alcohol during pregnancy, saying they are too confusing.
The association is calling for the government to issue clearer, evidence-based guidelines for pregnant women and those trying to conceive.
Revised government guidelines told pregnant women to ditch alcohol altogether, but advised those who did choose to drink to limit themselves to one to two units, once or twice a week.
The BMA says this is good advice but women may not understand how many units correlate with the type of alcohol that they are drinking.
The report adds that evidence is continuing to emerge on the effects of low or moderate prenatal alcohol exposure. So until advice on drinking alcohol is clarified, the BMA agrees that mothers should be directed to not drink alcohol at all.
Viveinne Nathanson, Head of BMA Science and Ethics, comments: "Health professionals also need to get the message across to expectant mothers that consuming alcohol can cause irreversible harm to their unborn child.
"It's about giving people the right information so that they can act responsibly – and save children from completely preventable lifelong disabilities."