Pregnant women can safely consume two glasses of wine a week, the UK government’s Department of Health has announced.
This refutes claims that women who drink during pregnancy could cause permanent damage to their child.
The Department of Health rejected comments made by Dr Raja Mukherjee at a conference in Wigan in the UK on foetal alcohol spectrum (FAS) disorder.
Dr Mukherjee, specialist registrar at St George’s Medical School in London, said pregnant women should completely cut out alcohol, saying every woman who drinks whilst carrying a child puts herself and the unborn child at risk.
Children with FAS are likely to suffer from poor memory, poor IQ, short attention span and physical abnormalities. Figures have shown FAS affects one in 300 children. There are no comparable UK figures.
American, South African and Scandinavian research on FAS has shown that mothers who consume alcohol during pregnancy, are more likely to give birth to children with the disorder.
The Department of Health questioned the validity of the research. ‘It was seen as valuable but there were questions about its robustness,’ a spokeswoman said.
The research was reviewed last March in conjunction with the government’s alcohol reduction strategy. It was confirmed by the Department of Health that two units of alcohol a week was a safe limit for pregnant women.
Written by Rosie Tanner