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New research urges pregnant women not to drink alcohol

Just a small amount of alcohol in pregnancy found to increase chances of premature birth

Posted: 11 April 2011
by Kimberley Smith
pregnant women with drink
Even a little alcohol could increase the chances of going into labour prematurely

A couple of glasses of wine a week during pregnancy could be enough to put your unborn baby at risk of foetal alcohol syndrome, according to new research from Dublin.

The new study contradicts recent research that suggested the odd alcoholic drink occasionally in pregnancy is harmless.

The study looked at the medical records of 60,000 children born in Dublin over a seven year period. Drinking up to five units of alcohol a week – the equivalent of two glasses of wine – has been linked to foetal alcohol syndrome, which can cause stunted growth, learning difficulties and physical abnormalities.

“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,” explained researcher Professor Deidre Murphy. She added that more investigation was needed into the effect of alcohol on unborn babies.

The Department of Health recommends mums-to-be avoid alcohol altogether but if they must drink, to limit it to one to two units once or twice a week. Try our tips of cutting out the booze.


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