While most countries urge that pregnant women refrain from drinking any alcohol during pregnancy, there are still women that do. And, in the UK, women are actually told that they can continue drinking during pregnancy, as long as it’s not more than one or two units a week. But a new study, conducted by Professor Peter Hepper from Queen’s University Belfast, says that this simply isn’t okay, and that even half a glass of wine could cause a fetus to stop breathing and moving for as long as two hours.
“If women drink just one unit of alcohol, the baby’s breathing and movement stop for up to two hours after that,” he told ITV’s Exposure Program. “That’s not normal—the baby should be continually active.”
Hepper’s study—said to be the first of its kind in the UK—looked at the effects of low-level alcohol exposure during pregnancy through the use of 18-week scans on women who drank an average of two-and-a-half unites a week (about a 200ml glass of wine). It was during those scans that he noticed fetuses would stop breathing and moving, sometimes for up to two hours, and then they would suddenly jump and turn themselves over. He says that these jolts indicate that the baby’s brains aren’t developing properly.