Abortions in South Africa: Women don’t know where to go

Study suggests light drinking may not affect babies during pregnancy

Is it okay to consume small amounts of alcohol during your pregnancy? This study attempted to address the question.

Abortions in South Africa: Women don’t know where to go

A new study suggests women drinking up to two standard glasses of wine a week during pregnancy are unlikely to cause harm to their unborn baby.

International guidelines recommend that pregnant women completely abstain from heavy or binge drinking because it could cause birth defects, affect the baby’s intelligence and lead to behavioral or mental problems.

In South Africa, it has been reported that Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) are actually several times higher than elsewhere in the world because of alcohol consumption during pregnancy (and which is why this study should not be taken as a green-light for drinking during pregnancy).

The study in question, published in the British Medical Journal, found that light drinking during pregnancy causes little harm to babies, including birth defects, developmental delay, behavioral problems or impaired intelligence.

Researchers set out to study the effects of low-to-moderate levels of drinking by women during pregnancy to determine if it is in fact harmful to their babies – because there isn’t a lot of research actually on the subject.

Researchers said the question they attempted to address is very important given “the mixed advice that women are given with regards to whether they should abstain completely or be allowed light alcohol consumption in pregnancy. The lack of evidence to address this question is said to be notable.”

The study looked particularly at complications of pregnancy and birth characteristics, such as miscarriage, premature birth, and undersized babies, and other longer term issues such as behavioral difficulties typical of FASD.

“We found limited evidence for a causal role of light drinking in pregnancy, compared with abstaining, on most of the outcomes examined,” the study concludes.

“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.

“In addition, there has been no evidence regarding possible benefits of light alcohol consumption versus absence.

“However, describing the paucity of current research and explaining that ‘absence of evidence is not evidence of absence’, appears warranted.”

*They still cautioned that a lack of evidence should not give women the go-ahead to start drinking and they would still recommended pregnant women to not consume alcohol as a precautionary measure.

On social media, people responded, saying a study like this could cause great harm.

Samuel Gent said on Twitter: “How about if they only do “light” crack smoking ?…is that ok too? RIDICULOUS!”

Karol Allen said: “No – forget drinking until done breastfeeding is best practice. Clean up diet long before trying and give your kid the best shot at life!”