Even small amounts of alcohol in pregnancy can harm baby – new study

Pregnant women warned to avoid alcoholic drinks as new evidence suggests as little as two glasses of wine a week could be damaging

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Drinking even small amounts of alcohol while you’re pregnant could harm your unborn baby, suggests a new study from Ireland. Researchers have found that just two glasses of wine a week could affect unborn babies’ development.

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The study looked at the alcohol consumption by 60,000 mums-to-be in Dublin between 2000 and 2007. Researchers found that even low levels of alcohol – around 5 units a week or two glasses of wine – could be linked to foetal alcohol syndrome. This can cause mental and physical abnormalities and stunt growth.

Professor Deidre Murphy, who led the research, has called for more investigation into the effects of alcohol on developing foetuses. “This study emphasises the need for improved detection of alcohol misuse in pregnancy and for early intervention in order to minimise the risks to the developing foetus,” she added.

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The results back up current Department of Health advice which recommends not drinking at all during pregnancy, but contradicts recent studies that have suggested an occasional tipple in pregnancy is nothing to worry about.

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