Preparation of this paper was supported by a National Alcohol Research Centre Grant (AA 05595) from NIAAA to the Alcohol Research Group, Medical Research Institute of San Francisco.
Abstaining for foetal health: The fiction that even light drinking is dangerous
Article first published online: 24 JAN 2006
British Journal of Addiction
Volume 86, Issue 9, pages 1063–1073, September 1991
How to Cite
KNUPFER, G. (1991), Abstaining for foetal health: The fiction that even light drinking is dangerous. British Journal of Addiction, 86: 1063–1073. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.1991.tb01873.x
- Issue published online: 13 FEB 2010
- Article first published online: 24 JAN 2006
There is a strong ideological and political movement in the USA to convince pregnant women not to drink any alcohol. An examination of the research literature on the results of drinking during pregnancy does not provide any evidence that light drinking is harmful to the foetus. The chief defects in the research that make conclusions about the effects of ‘moderate’ or light' drinking invalid are the ways in which drinking patterns are categorized: a) usually the categories used are ‘average per day’, the different effects of bingeing and light drinking being thus confused; b) often the heaviest drinking category is described as ‘two or more drinks a day’, sometimes even ‘one or more’. Obviously, one cannot tell whether any instances of foetal damage occurring in that group came from women who drank only two drinks each day, which would be light drinking, or from those who drank ten drinks each day since “ten drinks a day” is part of the category “two or more”.