Booze binging in early pregnancy risks premature birth
Wednesday 21st January, 2009
Even stopping after the first three months may be too late as the harmful effects of alcohol on the baby will have caused too much damage.
Excessive alcohol consumption in the first trimester increase the risk of premature birth and even by stopping the binge drinking at this point there is still a response trigger that will cause pre-term birth.
The risk also remains if the mother continues to drink until their baby is due so the results from the study have thrown the safe levels of drinking during pregnancy into confusion.
Guidance issued by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence in 2007 stated that during the first three months of pregnancy mothers should avoid alcohol altogether but a couple of drinks per day were deemed safe. The Department of Health disagreed and said no safe limit exists for drinking during pregnancy.
This latest study from Australia involved over 4,500 women who gave birth between 1995 and 1997. Researchers discovered that those who drank to excess or drank alcohol moderately to heavily within the first three months more than doubles the risk of premature birth, even after giving up for the remainder of the pregnancy.
Researchers believe stopping heavy drinking mid-term could trigger an inflammatory or metabolic response resulting in pre-term birth. This causes a problem when women aren’t aware of their pregnancy for several months thus proving to be too late in avoiding damage from the consequences of binge drinking.
Advice from healthcare professionals is to abstain from alcohol when trying for a baby or when suspecting you may be pregnant. Low levels of alcohol consumption has no evidence of causing premature birth.