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Evidence of the effects of light drinking on pregnancy presented to All Party Parliamentary Group

23 November 2017

On the 22nd November 2017 researchers Dr. Luisa Zuccolo and Dr. Loubaba Mamluk from the MRC IEU attended an All Party Parliamentary Group on Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder to present evidence on the effects of light drinking on pregnancy.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is chaired by Bill Esterson MP, and the vice-chair is Fiona Bruce MP. It is regularly attended by MPs and peers, members and trustees of FASD charities, health professionals working in the field and journalists.

Having received much coverage in UK and international media for their publication of a recent systematic review into how light drinking (no more than two units, no more than twice a week) affects children’s growth and development during pregnancy. The researchers recognise that that evidence they provided could have an important effect on government policy and advice for women about whether to drink during pregnancy. Engaging with policy makers the research make a critical part of population health research which not only informs government policy of the most up to date evidence.

The main finding of the review was a lack of evidence for the effects of light drinking during pregnancy on offspring health. Only 26 studies investigated this level of alcohol exposure, which is not enough to establish potentially harmful effects, or safe levels, of drinking.

Dr’s Zuccolo and Mamluk took questions from MP’s and members of the public about identifying the difference between association and causation, misrepresentation of the findings in the media and the relationship between British society and alcohol.

The study was joint funded by the MRC IEU and NIHR CLAHRC West  and can be found here

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