Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Low level alcohol consumption and the fetus

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 17 February 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:375

Rapid Response:

Authorities should recommend abstinence from alcohol for pregnant women

The myth that small amounts of alcohol are beneficial dies hard, and
is especially believed by those who drink regularly themselves. Relief of
anxiety by drinking alcohol or smoking tobacco may be an excuse of regular
drinkers or smokers to continue their habits, but any alcohol or smoking
is toxic to the developing fetus. As anxiety, like headaches, is more
common in women with nutritional deficiencies, and alcohol drinking causes
loss of nutrients, relief of anxiety is a poor argument for continuing to
drink during pregnancy. A mother who causes unnecessary damage to her
children can have a life time of otherwise avoidable anxiety.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

10 March 2005
Ellen C G Grant
physicain and medical gyanecologist
Kingston-upon-Thames, KT2 7JU, UK