British health officials have advised pregnant women that a low-to-moderate alcohol intake (less than one drink a day) is okay after the first three months of pregnancy.
Experts at the National Institute for Health in London have concluded that there's "no consistent evidence" that having less than one drink (or 12 grams of alcohol) per day is harmful to the fetus after the first trimester.
Canadian doctors were shocked by this advice as studies have shown that low-to-moderate exposure to alcohol in the womb can lead to behavioral problems during childhood. The Canadian Public Health Agency clearly states that drinking during pregnancy is not recommended.
Heavy drinking (more than 5 drinks on one occasion) during pregnancy is known to increase the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome. Babies with fetal alcohol syndrome have brain damage, impaired growth and distinct, flattened facial features. It is the leading preventable cause of birth defects in Canada.
The Canadian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is currently updating its recommendations on alcohol intake during pregnancy.
For more information on healthy eating during pregnancy check out Leslie Beck's Nutrition Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy.
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