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Low Level Drinking in Pregnancy Not Related With Higher Risk of Poor Birth Outcomes

Update Date: Nov 25, 2014 09:39 AM EST

Low to moderate alcohol consumption is not associated with an increased risk of specific birth outcomes and measures of fetal growth, according to a new study. 

Researchers studied the effects of lower levels of alcohol consumption on 4,496 women and singleton infants. They evaluated the association of maternal alcohol exposure in early and late pregnancy with selected birth outcomes such as low birth weight, preterm delivery, and intrauterine growth restriction. 

According to the press release About 30% of women in the study reported consuming alcohol- predominantly wine-during their first month of pregnancy. Overall alcohol exposure levels among women who reported drinking were relatively low, with a median level of approximately one drink per week in the first month of pregnancy, it added.

"While this study and others finds no evidence of harm from low to moderate alcohol consumption, more research is needed to investigate this contradiction," said senior author Michael B. Bracken, the Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Epidemiology and Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale School of Medicine, in the press release. 

"Our findings also demonstrate alcohol exposure is most prevalent in the first month of gestation, which is typically prior to pregnancy recognition, and a period of early fetal development. Whether these associations of reduced risk are due to healthier lifestyles of women consuming low to moderate alcohol and especially wine cannot be fully ruled out."

The study has been published in the journal Annals of Epidemiology.

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