Should women drink in pregnancy? Experts argue

Avoid alcohol in pregnancy to protect your infant’s health, says researchers. One should cut out all booze even after 3 months of pregnancy. Complete abstinence from alcohol is must for baby’s good health, argue two experts — Mary Mather , a retired pediatrician, and Kate Wiles, a doctoral research fellow in obstetric medicine at Guys and St Thomas NHS trust . They pointed out that women in Australia and Ireland drink a lot during their pregnancy risking child’s health.

According to Mather and Wiles, consuming alcohol during pregnancy can cause several diseases in Infants including foetal alcohol syndrome, behavioral abnormalities, mental retardation, improper development and low birth wieght.

Many people believe that controlled consumption of alcohol can benefit baby’s health. While countering it, Mather and Wiles said that they haven’t found any study yet that confirms even limited amount of alcohol would not affect health of infant.

Patrick O’Brien, a consultant and honorary senior lecturer in obstetrics and gynaecology at University College London hospital, argued that if no study has confirmed that drinking does not benefit baby’s health then there is also no study that gave strong evidence on drinking after pregnancy of three months is dangerous for child’s health

A study conducted by University College London in 2010 which involved women who consumed alcohol in their pregnancy and their 11,500 babies found that children of heavy drinkers were hyperactive and had behavioral abnormalities and emotional problems at the age of five. While children of moderate drinkers showed no ill effects.

Based on the study, O’Brien argued that there are no such strong evidences that can prove even moderate drinking in pregnancy can affect child’s health. However, he advised women not to drink as most of the mothers are unaware of their drinking limit which can cause abnormalities in infants.

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