It’s a topic on which you’ve undoubtedly heard plenty of conflicting advice over the last few years, but the latest study regarding drinking while pregnant claims that there is very little evidence to suggest that consuming small amounts of alcohol causes any harm to mothers or their babies.
The study, which was carried out by researchers at the University of Bristol, examined a slew of other studies to determine that no good science had been carried out on whether light drinking – defined as no more than two small drinks per week – had an adverse impact on pregnant mothers, The Guardian reported.
“Despite the distinction between light drinking and abstinence being the point of most tension and confusion for health professionals and pregnant women and contributing to inconsistent guidance and advice now and in the past, our extensive review shows that this specific question is not being researched thoroughly enough, if at all,” they wrote.
While there is scientific consensus that drinking excessively during a pregnancy can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome and other health problems for the baby, there is not enough research out there to conclude that the same is true for light drinking.
The researchers caution, however, that “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” meaning that light drinking could still cause harm. They only mean to ease the “guilt and anxiety felt by women who have an occasional glass of wine while they are pregnant.”
“Whilst it is possible that light drinking is associated with a slightly higher risk of having a small baby, there are other possible explanations,” said Dr. Christopher Lees, clinical reader in obstetrics at Imperial College London. “It will be an important challenge for those responsible for public health messages to convey nuanced advice that explains how robust or otherwise the evidence is.”