This article updates the fourthInformed Choice leaflet Alcohol and pregnancy. (www.infochoice.org). This is a complex topic because of the interaction between alcohol consumption and other aspects of social behaviour, which include smoking, domestic violence and other substance abuse Fanslow et al 2008). Europe has the highest proportion of alcohol consumption in the world, much of which is in the form of high quantities of alcohol being consumed in one episode (binge-drinking), particularly in young men and women Plant & Plant 2006, WHO 2011). The access to and intake of alcohol worldwide has led to concern about the impact of alcohol on maternal and fetal development and infant health, and greater awareness of the need for the involvement of health care professionals in offering support to women in order to address this McKean 2011, Payne et al 2011).