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Home > Low alcohol consumption and pregnancy and childhood outcomes: time to change guidelines indicating apparently 'safe' levels of alcohol during pregnancy? A systematic review and meta-analyses.

Mamluk, Loubaba and Edwards, Hannah B and Savović, Jelena and Leach, Verity and Jones, Timothy and Moore, Theresa H M and Ijaz, Sharea and Lewis, Sarah J and Donovan, Jenny L and Lawlor, Debbie and Smith, George Davey and Fraser, Abigail and Zuccolo, Luisa (2017) Low alcohol consumption and pregnancy and childhood outcomes: time to change guidelines indicating apparently 'safe' levels of alcohol during pregnancy? A systematic review and meta-analyses. BMJ Open, 7, (7), e015410.

External website: http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/7/7/e015410

OBJECTIVES: To determine the effects of low-to-moderate levels of maternal alcohol consumption in pregnancy on pregnancy and longer-term offspring outcomes.

SEARCH STRATEGY: Medline, Embase, Web of Science and Psychinfo from inception to 11 July 2016.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Prospective observational studies, negative control and quasiexperimental studies of pregnant women estimating effects of light drinking in pregnancy (≤32 g/week) versus abstaining. Pregnancy outcomes such as birth weight and features of fetal alcohol syndrome were examined.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: One reviewer extracted data and another checked extracted data. Random effects meta-analyses were performed where applicable, and a narrative summary of findings was carried out otherwise.

MAIN RESULTS: 24 cohort and two quasiexperimental studies were included. With the exception of birth size and gestational age, there was insufficient data to meta-analyse or make robust conclusions. Odds of small for gestational age (SGA) and preterm birth were higher for babies whose mothers consumed up to 32 g/week versus none, but estimates for preterm birth were also compatible with no association: summary OR 1.08, 95% CI (1.02 to 1.14), I(2) 0%, (seven studies, all estimates were adjusted) OR 1.10, 95% CI (0.95 to 1.28), I(2) 60%, (nine studies, includes one unadjusted estimates), respectively. The earliest time points of exposure were used in the analysis.

CONCLUSION: Evidence of the effects of drinking ≤32 g/week in pregnancy is sparse. As there was some evidence that even light prenatal alcohol consumption is associated with being SGA and preterm delivery, guidance could advise abstention as a precautionary principle but should explain the paucity of evidence.


Item Type
Article
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Guideline, Review, Article
Drug Type
Alcohol
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
Date
August 2017
Page Range
e015410
Publisher
BioMed Central
Volume
7
Number
7
EndNote
Accession Number
HRB (Electronic Only)

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