The Scottish Government has been praised for “erring on the side of safety” in its advice to women about alcohol consumption during pregnancy by an international expert on Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.
Psychology professor, Edward Riley, from San Diego State University said the effects of pre-natal alcohol exposure can be “devastating”, but are also “100 per cent preventable.” “There is no doubt that large amounts of alcohol during gestation causes problems.
There is enough evidence from experimental studies as well as the clinical data that drinking during pregnancy can be very harmful to your offspring. I think where you get the issues is how much alcohol causes problems. Women have been drinking for a long time and not everyone is walking around with an IQ of 80, so we know that not everyone is going to be affected.” However, in the Scottish Government’s recently published ‘Improving Maternal and Infant Nutrition’ framework women are simply advised to “avoid alcohol completely” during pregnancy.
Riley, who is coming to Scotland to address The Adolescent and Children’s Trust’s (TACT) ‘Bruised Before Birth’ conference in Edinburgh next week, said the advice “makes sense”.
“The Scottish Government is erring on the side of safety and to me that makes sense. Of course I’m not a woman. But I think it is a safe message and it is one that is going to avoid any doubt and take away that possibility that if you do have a child with a problem, if you didn’t drink you are never going to believe that that problem was caused by alcohol.” Riley will address the conference about the risks associated with drinking alcohol in pregnancy and its impact on brain structure and function.