A little alcohol in pregnancy not tied to low birth weight and preterm delivery

Bea Eribal

Health experts warn that drinking alcohol during pregnancy carries a potential risk of harming the baby. Heavy alcohol consumption during pregnancy is known to be linked to fetal alcohol syndrome and other birth defects.

Senior author Michael B. Bracken, a professor at the Yale School of Public Health, and his team analyzed links between alcohol consumption and birth outcomes data on nearly 4,500 women and their babies. Their analysis included information on low birth weight, preterm delivery and growth restriction while in the womb.

The analysis showed that around 30% of the women reported drinking alcohol during the first month of their pregnancy. The most commonly reported alcoholic drink was wine. Overall, the levels of alcohol consumed among women who said they drank during their pregnancy were low. The researchers found there was a reduced chance of babies being of low weight, of low length and having a small head circumference when they born to women who drank low to moderate levels of alcohol in early pregnancy. (Features of fetal alcohol syndrome)

There’s obviously more research needed to confirm whether low alcohol intake in pregnancy is harmless. But, this research does help relieve the anxiety for women who didn’t know that they were pregnant and drank alcohol during their first trimester or early pregnancy. This research also doesn’t mean to start drinking alcohol while pregnant, because there can still be a chance of some type of complications with the baby.

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