Foodconsumer.org Editor's note: Avoid alcoholic beverages during pregnancy!
Contact: Mary L. Hardin
Published reports inaccurate concerning alcohol consumption during pregnancy
INDIANAPOLIS – A national alcohol
research group is concerned that the media's misinterpretation of a
recent British research study could encourage pregnant women to be more
at ease with temperate alcohol consumption.
reports erroneously stated that the study by The University College
London researchers revealed that light drinking by pregnant women could
be beneficial to their babies. Other articles said light drinking
during pregnancy would not affect the behavior or mental acuity of
babies born to drinking mothers.
The Fetal Alcohol Spectrum
Disorders Study Group, a subgroup of the Research Society on
Alcoholism, says the conclusion of the study was not reported
accurately. "Unfortunately, several media outlets misinterpreted this
report to mean that drinking improved the children's outcome," the FASD
Study Group said.
The published report looked at the drinking
patterns of pregnant mothers of three-year-olds and assessed the
behavior and cognitive skills of the children. The University College
London researchers actually reported that the children born to women
who drank lightly during pregnancy were not at increased risk compared
with children of mothers who did not drink during pregnancy.
this result may be based on the higher socioeconomic status of the
light drinking mothers and their children involved in this study.
Higher socioeconomic status is well known to improve an infant's
neurodevelopmental outcome. The study's authors, Dr. Yvonne Kelly at
University College London and colleagues, suggested this explanation
for their findings and the FASD Study Group agrees with that
Many published reporters show that even moderate to light drinking can cause birth defects.
the adverse effects of light drinking during pregnancy are subtle and
may go undetected in children," said Feng Zhou, Ph.D., president of the
FASD Study Group and a professor of anatomy, cell biology and
neurobiology at the Indiana University School of Medicine. "Other
alcohol research studies of moderate drinking during pregnancy have
shown an adverse impact on multiple aspects of development through
adolescence and young adulthood even when other important environmental
factors are taken into account."
Dr. Zhou said the news reporters have been carried in various European and American publications and on news web sites.
media reports are alarming for a number of reasons but it is
particularly disturbing at this time of year when holiday parties may
make alcohol consumption more accessible and appealing to pregnant
women who have read the erroneous reports," he said.
consensus of public health providers and alcohol researchers is that
even light drinking can interfere with biological processes critical in
the development of the fetal brain, said Dr. Zhou and other Study Group
officers, Cynthia J.M. Kane, Ph.D., vice president and professor of
neurobiology and developmental sciences, University of Arkansas for
Medical Sciences, and Susan Smith, Ph.D., secretary and treasurer, and
professor of nutritional science at the University of Wisconsin-
additional information compiled by the Study Group on the research into
the effects on the children of mothers who consume alcohol during
pregnancy, see www.rsoa.org/fas.html.