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Review of light alcohol use in pregnancy

Review of light alcohol use in pregnancy

12/09/17Health

UK researchers say that there is “surprisingly limited” evidence to show that light drinking during pregnancy poses any risk to an unborn baby.

Reviewing all the available studies conducted on the topic since the 1950s, researchers from Bristol University, UK, found no convincing proof that a drink or two each week is harmful. However, they emphasised that this did not mean that is was completely safe.

Last year, the chief medical officer for the UK, Professor Dame Sally Davies, updated her advice to advocate total abstinence.

Before this advice was updated, pregnant women has been informed that they were able to drink one or two units per week.

As per official guidelines, researchers say that women should avoid alcohol throughout pregnancy “just in case”.

Women who have consumed small amounts of drink in pregnancy should now be reassured that they are unlikely to have harmed their baby.

However, getting drunk or binge drinking during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage and premature birth, and could lead to mental and physical problems with the baby, or foetal alcohol syndrome.

Professor David Spiegelhalter, University of Cambridge, said: “A precautionary approach is still reasonable, but with luck this should dispel any guilt and anxiety felt by women who have an occasional glass of wine while they are pregnant.”

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health’s Professor Russell Viner added: “My advice to women is that it’s best not to drink at all if you’re trying for a baby or are pregnant.

“Regularly drinking even small amounts could be harmful and should be avoided, in line with the precautionary approach.”

Pan European Networks Ltd