Health Action: Safe Alcohol Limits

Alcohol intake is measured in units. Current UK guidelines state that, in general, men should not regularly drink more than 3–4 units a day and women no more than 2–3 units a day. You should try to keep within these limits and have at least one or two days each week when you do not consume alcohol. Safe alcohol limits in pregnancy are not known precisely, so it is recommended that women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should ideally not drink at all, especially during the first 3 months of pregnancy because of the risk of miscarriage. If women who are pregnant do choose to drink, they should drink no more than 1–2 units, no more than once or twice a week, and should not binge drink or get drunk.

Units of alcohol

The number of units in a drink is calculated on the basis of the volume of the drink and the percentage of alcohol by volume (ABV). Measures served in bars or at home do not always correspond to those shown here.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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