Pregnant women have been warned that drinking during the seventh to 12th week of pregnancy raises the risk of their child being born with foetal alcohol syndrome.

In a study of more than 1,000 women, scientists from the University of California in San Diego found a link between the second half of the first trimester and signs of foetal alcohol syndrome disorder (FASD) in the women's babies. These included growth and weight abnormalities and deformaties.

The researchers discovered that for each extra daily alcoholic drink the woman drink her baby was 25 per cent more likely to have an abnormal lip, 16 per cent more likely to have a low birth weight and 12 per cent more likely to have a smaller than average head.

Study co-author Professor Philip May, from the University of North Carolina, said: "This paper clearly illustrates that drinking alcohol, especially binge drinking, during the first seven to 12 weeks of gestation is associated with four of the most important facial features characteristic of FAS as well as reductions in birth length and weight that are also characteristic of infants and children with FAS."

The authors also said there was no such thing as a 'safe' alcohol limit for pregnant women.

Posted by Robert Mair on 18/1/2012