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    Ron Batagol

    As I discuss in my book, “Taking Medicines in Pregnancy-What’s Safe and What’s Not, What the Experts Say”, A Plain English Guide”- Bookpal Aust 2013

    -I THOROUGHLY ENDORSE the concerns about the teratogenic effects on the fetus of excessive alcohol use during pregnancy, and that, ideally, avoidance of alcohol during pregnancy is best. However, my concern is that quite frankly, the NHMRC Guidelines used very poorly-designed research studies to inappropriately extrapolate downwards and prosecute the socially desirable position that ANY alcohol taken during pregnancy can harm the infant. Unfortunately, in the real world, where the reality is that alcoholic beverages are an integral part of our diverse social milieu, this can result in the proposition that even occasional, intermittent or inadvertent exposure to a small amount of alcohol during pregnancy, is a risk to the developing infant. Recent Studies (Kelly et.al. 2008 and 2010), show that this is not the case with low-level use. When women are advised and counselled after intermittent or occasional exposure to alcohol during pregnancy, they must receive reassurance, so that they do not tragically contemplate inappropriate termination or develop unwarranted anxiety about their pregnancy and the health of their developing infant. My concerns in that respect, which I commented to NHMCR, in 2007, were, at that time, echoed by other Medical and Public Health Groups here and overseas- N.I.C.E in the UK, American College of O&G Guidelines 11/1/11, Canadian O&G Society Consensus Guidelines no.245 Aug 2010, and comments to NHMRC in 2007 by RANZCOG,(comment No.64), AMA (W.A)(No.38), Aust National Council on Drugs ( No.70),Women’s Health Queensland Wide(no.110),National Research Inst. (147), Drugs Services RPA (98)

    In summary, there are better ways to educate people than resorting to bad science to justify otherwise desirable social objectives!!

    Ron Batagol, Obstetric Drug Information Consultant,
    Nunawading 3131

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