Research from Harvard Medical School recently reported highlights the risks of regular alcohol use in pregnancy.
The research found that regularly drinking 3 units each day during pregnancy could lead to lower height, weight and head circumference in babies at birth. Moreover, the restriction in growth seems to persist well into childhood - up until the age of 9 years in some cases. 3 units a day would however be above the current guidelines for non-pregnent females of 2-3 units per day plus at least 2 alcohol-free days per week.
The findings will add to the debate regarding messages relating to the risks of drinking in pregnancy. Previous reports have suggested that drinking occasionally, in very small amounts (1 or 2 units per week), would appear not to lead to lasting damage. However such reserch has appeared to lead to gross misrepresentation in the media.
Alcohol use can cause harm to the unborn child and the breastfeeding child, with regular or daily drinking presenting serious risks. The chief researcher at Harvard Medical School, Dr Colin Carter, added "The overall message is not to drink in pregnancy." Current guidance in the UK echoes this message.
Last year Diageo funding was announced for training midwives as part of the controversial responsibility deal.