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Is light drinking while pregnant harmful to the baby?

A new UK study suggests there is little evidence that light drinking during pregnancy harms the unborn baby.

For pregnant women who are desperate for a glass of wine this may sound too good to be true… and it is.

This morning Ross and John spoke to Professor Jane Halliday, group leader in Public Health Genetics at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, about the new research. They asked her if any level of drinking while pregnant is harmful for the unborn baby.

“It might be. That’s the key point, we just don’t know”, she said.

While the new study found there was no harm being done, Professor Halliday said that this was based on limited research focusing almost exclusively on the newborn period.

She emphasized that there is a “lot of evidence about the biological harm” caused by higher levels of alcohol consumption while pregnant. But that’s not all. A recent study which Professor Halliday was involved in found that the middle of the face in one-year-old children who are exposed to any level of alcohol is slightly altered. The implications of this change are not yet known.

So, for now, the safest option for pregnant women is still to abstain from alcohol entirely during pregnancy.

 

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