Premature birth risk for early drinkers

Drinking in the early months of pregnancy can lead to premature births, a new study says.

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The study of 4,719 Australian women by the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research at the University of Western Australia says that women who drink more than one or two alcoholic drinks a day during the first three months of pregnancy, are more likely to deliver prematurely than those who do not drink at all or drink at low levels.

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‘Our research shows pregnant women who drink more than one to two standard drinks per occasion and more than six standard drinks per week, increase their risk of having a premature baby,’ says researcher Colleen O’Leary.

However the study also found that low levels of drinking during the first few months of pregnancy, defined as no more than six standard-sized drinks a week (12.5 units), do not increase the risk premature births.

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Current government guidelines in the UK advise not to drink alcohol at all during pregnancy.

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