Health Care

Advice to cut all drinking during pregnancy based on 'generally weak' evidence

Advice to cut all drinking during pregnancy based on 'generally weak' evidence”

The study, published in the journal BMJ Open, found an 8 per cent higher risk of smaller babies among women who drank four units a week - insufficient for a "robust conclusion".

Justine Roberts, founder and CEO of Mumsnet, welcomed the study: "Unlike the no-smoking message, which seems to be universally believed if not always adhered to, pregnant women have remained a little sceptical about the zero-alcohol advice, and judging from the Mumsnet forums tend to be pretty realistic about the probable impacts of the odd drink and see no point in dwelling on the amounts they drank before even knowing they were pregnant".

Although there is strong evidence that excessive drinking harms babies in the womb, the study from researchers at the University of Bristol found that few good studies had been done on light drinking, which they defined as no more than two small drinks, or four units per week.

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

One unit is 8g of alcohol - equivalent to half a pint of beer, lager or cider at 3.5% strength, a single measure (25ml) of spirits, such as whisky, gin, rum or vodka, or half a standard (175ml) glass of wine at 11.5% strength.

The researchers looked at the effects on a wide range of health outcomes such as miscarriage, still birth, size at birth, and long term developmental delays, behavioural and cognitive deficits.

Earlier this year, British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which offers assistance to pregnant women, urged officials not to "overstate the risks from consuming small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy".

David Spiegelhalter, professor for the public understanding of risk at the University of Cambridge, said: "This valuable and humane study has shown that warnings about the dangers of drinking any alcohol at all during pregnancy are not justified by evidence".

Drinking large amounts of alcohol is clearly linked to foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth and the baby having a low birth weight.

James Nicholls, research director at the charity Alcohol Research UK, said the findings "should caution us not to create a situation where mothers-to-be are made more anxious, or subject to unnecessary moral judgment, on the issue of very light alcohol consumption".

However, women who have had a drink while pregnant, perhaps unwittingly, "should be reassured that they are unlikely to have caused their baby considerable harm", the team wrote.

They highlighted that another reason to be cautious was that the association might not reflect a direct causal link.

But critics have warned this advice is unduly worrying to women, especially those who drink before they discover they are pregnant.

Dr Luisa Zuccolo, who co-led the study, said: "Formulating advice on the basis of the current evidence is challenging, because we are still building the full picture of what happens to the unborn baby when small amounts of alcohol reach the bloodstream or brain".

"However, this must be about women making a choice and what is important is that they make that choice based upon the best available evidence", she said.

They said Government recommendations that women stop drinking altogether in pregnancy was based on "generally weak" evidence.



Like this

loading...
loading...

Latest


12 September 2017
Bale 'had to take a lot of painkillers'
But when you've been injured for three months and you see your team-mates play you really want to come back and that's what I did. And it doesn't bother me too much, " he said. "Yes, there have been great moments and others, not so much".

12 September 2017
Firefighters get a hand in BC budget
Finance Minister Carole James said the new government is also allocating resources for the upcoming poverty reduction plan. Liberals is that the tax will no longer be revenue neutral, which means the money will now go towards green initiatives.

12 September 2017
Drew Brees' contract blocks use of franchise tag
Minnesota's offense will have a new look to it as well, as rookie Dalvin Cook will get the start at running back. With Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara competing for carries, Peterson's chances to shine will be limited.

12 September 2017
United Nations says 313000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh
Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has claimed the government is doing its best to defend all people in Rakhine state . Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak complained Friday of the burden his country bears in caring for many Rohingya.

12 September 2017
NC now in Irma's path, state of emergency declared
State troopers had all lanes of Interstate 16 heading westbound out of Savannah on Saturday morning. While we will have an impact here, it will be much less than what south Florida sees.

12 September 2017
Armie Hammer nearly turned down gay romance role
As it turns out, the star of " The Lone Ranger " and " The Social Network ", who is married to Elizabeth Chambers, wasn't far off. When he was 59, Woods starting dating 19-year-old Ashley Madison and they remained together for seven years.

12 September 2017
Small Plane Crashes in Conn. Parking Lot
The plane was a single engine Cessna 172P model owned by Interstate Aviation Inc., which is run out of Robertston Airport. A video released by the town Monday afternoon shows the plane flying low, hit a tree and then land in the parking lot.

12 September 2017
Man, 77, wounded in Henderson road-rage incident; suspect arrested
Anyone with additional information is urged to contact Henderson police at 702-267-4911. He was arrested without incident about 2:50 a.m. today at his home, police said.

12 September 2017
Nebraska Guardsmen, 4 helicopters assigned to Irma duty
The troops are among thousands of other National Guard and Air Guard units that have been deployed to the hurricane zone. Guardsmen from across MI were sent to Camp Grayling before their deployment Monday, including some from Cadillac.

12 September 2017
Rackspace buys rival cloud service provider Datapipe
Founded in 2000, the company is based in Jersey City, New Jersey, with 825 employees and 29 data centers in nine countries. Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report.