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[Health Research Board] Alcohol consumption in early pregnancy. (10 Sep 2013)

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An international study, led by Health Research Board funded researchers at University College Cork, suggests that alcohol consumption in the first fifteen weeks of pregnancy does not alter odds for small-for-gestational-age neonate, reduced birth weight, preeclampsia, or spontaneous preterm birth. The findings have just been published in ‘Obstetrics and Gynaecology’ one of the world’s leading Obstetrics and Gynaecology journals.

The research was conducted as part of a prospective international birth cohort known as Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints (SCOPE). SCOPE’s principal aim is the development of screening tests to predict, small for gestational age neonates, pre-eclampsia, spontaneous preterm birth or reduced birth weight neonates.

The research involved 5,628 participants in Ireland, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Participants of the study were healthy females who had recently given birth between November 2004 and January 2011 in Auckland, Adelaide, Cork, London, Leeds, and Manchester.

According to Louise Kenny, senior author and Professor of Obstetrics, University College Cork, Director of the Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research (INFANT), Cork and Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, University Maternity Hospital,

‘Although the research indicates that alcohol consumption in early pregnancy does not appear to adversely affect conditions like small-for-gestational-age neonate, reduced birth weight, preeclampsia, or spontaneous preterm birth, it is really important to state that this study did not evaluate the association between alcohol consumption in pregnancy and long-term neurocognitive outcomes of children exposed as fetuses to alcohol.


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