Many pregnant women drink varying quantities of alcohol, although several guidelines recommend total sobriety.
Number of women drinking alcohol is extreme than expected. 10% report drinking in the last 30 days with greater than 3% reporting to debauch in 2015 report by US center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Experts agree that binge or heavy drinking while pregnant is extremely dangerous for a fetus, and advise against it. The question is light drinking is good or not.
To answer this question, we conducted a review of the literature using the standard Prescrire methodology. Fetal alcohol syndrome, which combines facial dysmorphism, growth retardation and intellectual disability, occurs in about 5% of children who are regularly exposed to at least five standard units per day (about 50 g of alcohol per day).
Doctors in United States have warned that drinking any alcohol while pregnant can come with serious medical risks, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, or physical and behavioral problems in the baby, known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
In 2016, a report from the Centres for Disease control and Prevention said that women should avoid drinking completely if they are not using birth control and there is any chance they might be pregnant.
UK also issues guidelines that say that if you are pregnant or think you could become pregnant, the safest thing that any woman can do is not to drink alcohol at all.
There is a risk of cognitive and behavioral problems in children whose mothers regularly drank more than 2 standard units per day.
On Friday, the National Health Service Greater Glassgow and Clyde launched a “No alcohol, no alcohol harm” campaign focused on pregnant women about the risk of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. There have been “mixed messages” around drinking while pregnant and the campaign aims to “put the issue to bed once and for all,” according to the NHS.
For example women often ask about ‘safe’ levels of drinking during pregnancy — ‘but one glass is OK, isn’t it?'” Loubaba Mamluk, senior research associate in epidemiology at the University of Bristol in the UK and lead author of the paper, said in an email. “The distinction between light drinking and abstinence is indeed the point of most tension and confusion for health professionals and pregnant women.”
We were surprised that this very important topic was not researched as widely as expected- she said.
A clinical trial showed that women with at-risk drinking have more chances to reduce their consumption if they were warned of the risks for their pregnancy and their unborn child on several occasions than if they were simply given an information brochure. In reality, women must be informed of the risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, but this must be done strategically. The risks of minimal alcohol consumption should not be overemphasized.
Dr. Janet Williams, professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Health San Antonio, who served as one of the lead authors on a 2015 American academy of pediatrics advising no alcohol during pregnancy.
It is known that quantity and frequency of use, particularly binging, does correlate with increased risk. Why not give the child the chance not to have this potential limitation or health risk in their life? There are so many other factors one can worry about, so how about one less concern? There are all sorts of non-risk-based beverages or ways to relax or express one’s emotions that do not confer fetal or lifelong effects. – Williams said about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Many doctors now advise to avoid drinking alcohol during pregnancy no matter what type of beverage it is until more research is done.