A research article entitled “Light drinking versus abstinence in pregnancy – behavioural and cognitive outcomes in 7-year-old children: a longitudinal cohort study”  was recently published in BJOG: an international journal of obstetrics and gynaecology.

Media reports have focused on the study’s findings suggesting that light alcohol consumption during pregnancy may not have harmful effects on behaviour and cognition in young children despite a clear statement in the conclusion of the paper that there is no known safe amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy:

…we remain unclear on what is the level for drinking safely and how this level might be affected by individual susceptibility. Therefore, it may be that the safest option for pregnant women is to avoid drinking during their pregnancies….further work to tease out whether or not low levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy are causally linked to developmental problems in childhood is needed. (Kelly et al., 2013, p.7)

The news releases have received responses from the Canada FASD Research Network (CanFASD) and the American  National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS). Both reiterate that there is no known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy.

We encourage our readers to read CanFASD’s response to the issue. Links to the research article abstract and BBC’s account of the findings are available through CanFASD’s response.

NOFAS ‘s response to the issue is also available online.

Reference:

Kelly Y, Iacovou M, Quigley M, Gray R, Wolke D, Kelly J, Sacker A. Light drinking versus abstinence in pregnancy – behavioural
and cognitive outcomes in 7-year-old children: a longitudinal cohort study. BJOG 2013; DOI: 10.1111/1471-0528.12246.

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