Alcohol and pregnancy: The pivotal role of the obstetrician

Authors

  • Elizabeth J. ELLIOTT,

    1. The Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit,
    2. The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Westmead, New South Wales,
    3. Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales,
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Carol BOWER

    1. Telethon Institute for Child Health Research,
    2. Centre for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, and
    3. Birth Defects Registry of Western Australia, Women and Newborn Health Service, King Edward Memorial Hospital, Western Australia, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author

: Professor Elizabeth Elliott, Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, The University of Sydney, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Locked Bag 4001, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia. Email: elizabe2@chw.edu.au

Abstract

New draft alcohol guidelines for Australia state that, for pregnant women and women planning pregnancy, ‘no drinking is the safest option’. One of the best known adverse effects of alcohol exposure on the fetus is the fetal alcohol syndrome. Others include alcohol-related birth defects, alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorders and increased risks of miscarriage, stillbirth, intrauterine growth restriction, preterm birth and low birthweight. Over half of Australian women consume alcohol during pregnancy. Obstetricians have a pivotal role in advising women of the effects of alcohol on the fetus and reducing fetal exposure.

Ancillary