A new study by researchers in England finds that light drinking during pregnancy may not be as harmful as previously believed. While the adverse effects of excessive alcohol consumption during pregnancy have been well-documented, researchers from the University of Bristol found few reliable studies that looked at the effect that light drinking (two small drinks per week) had on babies in the womb.
In general, scientists agree that no drinking is the safest option. In the U.S., the CDC and Surgeon General guidelines state, “There is no known safe amount of alcohol to drink while pregnant. There is also no known safe time during pregnancy or safe type of alcohol.” But some experts concluded that black-and-white rules such as these not only cause expecting mothers unnecessary anxiety, they do not present the full truth.
David Spiegelhalter, Winton professor for the public understanding of risk at the University of Cambridge, was enthusiastic about the new findings. “This valuable and humane study has shown that warnings about the dangers of drinking any alcohol at all during pregnancy are not justified by evidence,” he 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.”