27 Jun, 2013 Last updated: 30 Mar, 2015

By Jerril Rechter, VicHealth CEO

Letter to the editor first appeared in the Warrnambool Standard 26 June 2013.

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter

This week, news reports have suggested that it's okay for pregnant women to drink alcohol. This research sends a dangerous message that drinking won’t harm babies – when in fact, we know it does.

We cannot rely on the findings of a single study to inform those choices that might impact our children.

This study focussed on children in southwest England and found that women who drank moderately during pregnancy passed on no effect to the children's balance by the time they reached primary school age.

But the same study also shows drinking negatively affected the children's IQ, so again, it is not a clear case.

It's hard to study the effect of alcohol on unborn babies and certainly more research is needed, but Australian medical authorities agree there is enough evidence to show that drinking may harm your baby: so why take the risk?

- Jerril