New research released taken from over 1,200 pregnant women in Leeds has revealed that drinking over the two units limit doubles the risk of premature birth, and even drinking at the limit increases the risk.
This study adds to the long held debate over whether it is safe to drink at all during pregnancy.
The NHS gives advice to Mothers-To-Be telling them to avoid alcohol during pregnancy or when they are attempting to conceive. But their advice also tells people that if they choose to drink, then they should not have more than two units of alcohol (about one pint) twice a week.
Heavy drinking in pregnancy is known to be damaging as it can affect the baby’s development. But there is far more debate about drinking at the upper limit of the NHS guidelines.
Around seven in every 100 births in the UK is premature.
Camilla Nykjaer, one of the researchers at the University of Leeds, told the BBC: “This is a very sensitive issue, we don’t want women who are pregnant now to panic, the individual risk is actually low.
“They shouldn’t drink, they should stop drinking if they have been drinking during the pregnancy.”