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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Thursday, January 22 2009. 10:44

Binge Drinking Causes Premature Births

Binge-drinking in early pregnancy doubles the risk of a premature birth, according to a report on the research carried out in Western Australia, but ascertaining that women  who drank lightly while pregnant, were at no greater risk than abstainers.

The study found that heavy drinking in the three months after conception led to a rise of up to 2.3 times in the chances of having a pre-mature birth, even if the mother abstained for the last six months of the pregnancy.

The study by Telethon Institute for Child Health Research collected data on drinking habits of 4,719 women who gave birth in Western Australia between 1995 and 1997.

"Our research shows pregnant women who drink more than one to two standard drinks per occasion and more than six standard drinks per week, increase their risk of having a premature baby," the institute's researcher Colleen O'Leary said on Wednesday.

This was the case even if the women stopped drinking before their second trimester, O'Leary said.

"The risk of pre-term birth is highest for pregnant women who drink heavily or at binge levels, drinking more than seven standard drinks per week, or more than five drinks on any single occasion," Australian Associated Press quoted her as saying.

The study also found a low birth weight was more likely to be caused by a mother's smoking rather than drinking.

Curiously, drinking caffeine while pregnant is also linked to having a baby with a lower birth weight, another study in UK found. The government's food-safety watchdog is now advising pregnant women to drink no more than two cups of coffee daily.

Almost half of Australia's pregnant women reportedly drink alcohol throughout their pregnancy, and some even admit to binge drinking in the final months before giving birth, according to the study.

The wine and alcoholic beverage retailers are now planning to devote 10 per cent of the ad space to promoting websites that discourage binge drinking.

Even before the results came out of the current Australian study The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in UK had issued the guidelines advising against drinking any alcohol during the first three months of pregnancy because of suspected increase in the risk of miscarriage. If a woman does choose to drink alcohol while pregnant she should drink no more than 2 units of alcohol once or twice a week, said the advisory. One small glass of wine is about 1.5 units in UK.

U.S. Library of Medicine recommends not more than one drink each day for women, which is classified as 125 mL (6-glasses to a standard bottle) of 12-12.5% alcohol, 


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