A Look at Several Studies in the Epidemiology Literature Regarding the Effects
of Low Level Alcohol Ingestion during
Pregnancy in Nonsmokers
Disclaimer: This site does not recommend that pregnant women drink
of today's women would lead to inaccurate findings:
analysis of contemporary women and
alcohol ingestion regarding pregnancy outcome would not give
as reliable of results as studies of women from previous
a discussion of the limitations of epidemiologic studies).
level alcohol ingestion and pregnancy:
public perception has changed during the past 25 years to the idea that
ingesting even very low levels of alcohol during pregnancy (including
nonsmokers) is detrimental to the developing fetus. However,
the data from several published medical studies from which this perception
was derived suggests that the current recommendations may be less well founded
than has been assumed.
A direct review of the data in a JAMA study1
suggests that a low level alcohol intake in nonsmokers did not significantly
adversely affect infant birth weight.
0 3,468 ±534(S.D.)
letter was written, published in JAMA, proposing
an alternative interpretation:
second study critiqued:
different study that examined alcohol ingestion in
smokers and nonsmokers committed the serious error of miscounting data
regarding the primary outcome (the number of mothers with low birth weight
A subsequent meta-analysis of alcohol consumption during pregnancy suggested that
low level alcohol consumption in nonsmokers was not
associated with decreased birth weights during pregnancy.
will be the status of information regarding this topic 10 years from now?
Mills JL, Graubard BI, Harley EE, et al. Maternal alcohol consumption and birth weight:
How much drinking during pregnancy is safe? JAMA 1984:252:1875-1879