Is Occasional Drinking During Pregnancy Okay? No, Says A New Study

Is Occasional Drinking During Pregnancy Okay? No, Says A New Study

Published
Fit
2 min read
Study shows that even occasional drinking during pregnancy could be detrimental to the health of the baby.

A new Australian study has suggested that even small amounts of alcohol consumed occasionally could cause insulin-resistance during pregnancy, which increases the likelihood of diabetes and could be harmful.

The study on rats mimicked ‘special occasion drinking’, such as a family barbeque or birthday party, where a pregnant woman might be encouraged to have one or two alcoholic drinks.

University of Queensland (UQ) scientist Lisa Akison said male rats exposed to this low level of prenatal alcohol showed signs of becoming diabetic at around six months old.

"We only gave alcohol to the mother rats on two days during their pregnancy," Akison said, addding "Their blood alcohol concentration only reached 0.05 per cent, and yet their male offspring recorded higher than normal insulin levels." According to the press release, Akison said it was interesting to discover such insulin-resistance was sex-specific, occurring only in the male rats.

"The other factor is hormone changes as offspring grow into adulthood. In this case, we know that oestrogen protects against insulin-resistance, and because males don't have high oestrogen, they don't experience the same protection." Akison said while the research was in its early stages, it did raise questions about the safety of alcohol during pregnancy.

"More research is needed to establish any definitive link between alcohol and insulin resistance in humans." she said.

"Families, partners and friends should support a woman's choice not to drink alcohol during pregnancy.

"If a woman unknowingly drinks alcohol during the early stages of pregnancy, the important thing is to stop once they realise they're pregnant, have a good diet and take care of themselves for the remainder of the pregnancy for the optimal health of their child."

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