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Having the occasional drink while pregnant may not be harmful

There’s actually very little evidence that a glass of wine every now and then has a negative effect on a fetus.

Expecting moms may not have anything at all to feel guilty about if they decide to drink a glass of wine on occasion while pregnant, a new study from the University of Bristol says. About 80% of pregnant women in the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia admitted to drinking some alcohol, according to the research, and since about half of all pregnancies are unplanned, it’s logical to assume that many women around the world continue to drink before they even know they’re pregnant.

Excessive drinking is of course known to be quite harmful to an unborn baby, but the researchers noted that there are very few reliable studies that have been conducted on the effects of light drinking — defined as imbibing two small drinks per week.

“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,” the researchers wrote in the journal BMJ Open, “our extensive review shows that this specific question is not being researched thoroughly enough, if at all.”

One in ten pregnant American women drink: study

And other experts agree. The pressures and guilt placed on women to safely and correctly carry a child for nine perfect months is perhaps unnecessary if she finds herself reaching for the rare glass of rosé.

“Warnings about the dangers of drinking any alcohol at all during pregnancy are not justified by evidence,” University of Cambridge professor David Spiegelhalter told The Guardian. “A precautionary approach is still reasonable, but with luck this should dispel any guilt and anxiety felt by women who have an occasional glass of wine while they are pregnant.”

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