A study from Denmark shows that drinking even small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy can harm an unborn child.

Women who take in five or more drinks per week when they are pregnant are three times more likely than women who do not drink to give birth to a dead child. The rate of babies damaged by a faulty placenta went from 1.37 per 1,000 births for women taking in less than one drink per week to nine per 1,000 births for women taking in five or more drinks per week.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy also increases risk for having a very small baby at birth, giving birth before the expected date of delivery, and having deformed babies. One drink is defined as the amount of alcohol that will remain in your bloodstream for an hour. That's five ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, and 2/3ds of a shot glass of alcohol.

Moderate alcohol intake during pregnancy and the risk of stillbirth and death in the first year of life. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2002, Vol 155, Iss 4, pp 305-312. U Kesmodel, K Wisborg, SF Olsen, TB Henriksen, NJ Secher. Kesmodel U, Aarhus Univ Hosp, Dept Obstet & Gynaecol, Skejby Sygehus, Perinatal Epidemiol Res Unit, DK-8200 Aarhus N, DENMARK

Checked 9/3/05

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