Published: Tue, September 12, 2017
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Light Drinking in Pregnancy is Little Harmful

Light Drinking in Pregnancy is Little Harmful

That said, they nevertheless advised expectant mothers not to drink any alcohol just in case, although they added that health professionals should inform women about the lack of evidence against alcohol.

As a result women are told to avoid heavy or "binge drinking" but advice on "safe" drinking levels remains a grey area.

Experts welcomed the news, with some saying Government recommendations that women stop drinking altogether in pregnancy are based on "generally weak" evidence.

Up until past year, women were told they could drink up to one or two units, once or twice a week.

Last year, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that women should avoid drinking completely if they are not using birth control and there is any chance they might be pregnant.

The most common alcohol-related questions that Horsager-Boehrer hears from pregnant patients involve concerns about a single drink they might have had before they knew they were pregnant or having a sip of champagne at a special event, she said.

The review, published in the journal BMJ Open, included experts from the University of Bristol and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust.

They looked particularly at complications of pregnancy and birth characteristics, such as miscarriage, premature birth, and undersized babies, and longer term issues, such as the developmental delays.

"While this study adds to the evidence that drinking one to two units of alcohol a week after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy is unlikely to have a harmful impact on the baby or pregnancy, we can not rule out the risks altogether".

The risks associated with light drinking, however, are less clear.

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The study noted in comparison, light to moderate smoking of less than 20 cigarettes per day was associated with a 22 percent increased risk.

Experts agree that binge or heavy drinking while pregnant is alarmingly unsafe for a fetus, and advise against it - but what about light drinking during pregnancy?

There is very little evidence that light drinking during pregnancy harms unborn babies, a study has found.

They trawled all available research on the effects of light drinking (up to four units of alcohol per week) in pregnancy.

"In addition, there has been no evidence regarding possible benefits of light alcohol consumption versus abstinence. It is most likely low on the basis of the information we now have, but you can't be promised that and you don't know that".

The evidence on how much, if any, is safe to drink, or at what stages of pregnancy, is notable by its absence, they add.

PREGNANT women who enjoy the occasional tipple are unlikely to harm their babies, say researchers.

"Evidence of the effects of drinking up to 32 g/week in pregnancy is sparse".

"We believe women should have access to high-quality, evidence-based information on matters relating to pregnancy, are capable of making the choices that are right for them, and should be trusted to do so".

A standard 175ml glass of red, white or rose wine with a ABV of 12 percent contains 2.1 units.

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