Health Day - ONLINE EDITION

Alcohol Near Start of Pregnancy Linked to Premature Babies

Educated whites most likely to exceed drinking recommendations, British study finds

  • Print

MONDAY, March 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Women who drink before they conceive or during the first three months of pregnancy might be at increased risk of having a premature or small baby, new research finds.

The study included more than 1,200 pregnant women in the United Kingdom who provided information about their drinking habits shortly before and during pregnancy.

The U.K. Department of Health, like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommends that pregnant women and those trying to conceive should not drink any alcohol. If they do, they should limit alcohol to no more than one or two units a week, according to the U.K. guidelines.

Alcoholic content varies. In general, though, one large glass of wine can contain more than three units of alcohol -- more than the upper weekly limit.

The University of Leeds researchers found that 53 percent of the women drank more than the recommended maximum of two weekly units of alcohol per week during the first three months of pregnancy. Nearly 40 percent drank more than 10 units a week just prior to conceiving.

Those who drank more than two units a week were more likely to be white, older, have higher levels of education and live in richer neighborhoods, the researchers said.

About 13 percent of the babies born to the women in the study were underweight, 4.4 percent were smaller than normal and 4.3 percent were born prematurely. Women who drank more than two units of alcohol a week during the first three months of pregnancy were twice as likely to have a premature or small baby as those who did not drink, the study found.

But even women who drank less than two units a week during the first three months of pregnancy were more likely to have a premature baby than those who did not drink, the researchers said.

Women who drank just before they conceived were also more likely to have babies that were smaller than normal, according to the study, which was published online recently in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The findings show that drinking during the first three months of pregnancy has the greatest impact on babies, the researchers said. The study also highlighted the need to emphasize to women that they shouldn't drink just before or during pregnancy.

Although the study showed an association between alcohol consumption and premature birth, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

More information

The March of Dimes has more about alcohol and pregnancy.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Police speak out on Red River search

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • STDUP ‚Äì Beautiful West End  begins it's summer of bloom with boulevard s, front yards  and even back lane gardens ,  coming alive with flowers , daisies and poppies  dress up a backyard lane on Camden St near Wolseley Ave  KEN GIGLIOTTI  / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  /  June 26 2012
  • Someone or thing is taking advantage of the inactivity at Kapyong Barracks,hundreds of Canada Geese-See Joe Bryksa’s goose a day for 30 days challenge- Day 15- May 22, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you plan on attending any of the CMHR opening weekend events? (select all that apply)

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google