Avoid any alcohol throughout pregnancy is the latest advice
Research by Dr Philip May, who has produced lots of studies on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, says pregnant women shouldn’t chance drinking any alcohol through their pregnancy
Advice: No alcohol in pregnancy
- Doctor advises to avoid all alcohol in pregnancy
Debate is always rife about drinking alcohol in pregnancy. Doctors have stated in the past that a pregnant woman can enjoy a glass of wine a week. Others have said a few sips can be OK. But a fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) expert warned against any alcohol consumption in pregnancy for the reason that there are too many unknown risks to justify drinking any.
Dr Phillip May at the University of New Mexico, said: "There is too much that is not known about how alcohol affects each individual woman differently during pregnancy to risk it, especially when we know the lifelong impact it can have on an individual child.”
Dr May has been researching fetal alcohol syndrome for 40 years and is an expert in the field. In previous years, FAS has been thought to affect no more than three children per every 1,000. Dr May’s research has contradicted this.
He found that between three and eight children per 1,000 were born with the condition.
The condition can have many effects on sufferers including children born with abnormal facial features and lifelong learning and behavioural problems, caused by damage to the developing brain and central nervous system.
Due to this, the children can also have a host of health issues relating to hearing, vision, the heart, kidneys and bones.
Based on these findings, Dr May argues that the risk of a baby born with FAS if you drink in pregnancy is higher than previously thought, and the full risks to the child are unknown and therefore advises no alcohol should be consumed in pregnancy.
Latest evidence for potential harms of ‘light’ drinking in pregnancy remains limited. A systematic review published 29th January 2020 (mamluk et al, international journal of epidemiology) found a likely causal detrimental role of prenatal alcohol exposure on poor brain function in babies and advises that guidance to not drink alcohol in any trimester of pregnancy should continue as per the Chief Medical Officer UK recommendations.