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Pregnant women who drink on special occasions may increase baby’s risk of diabetes

Whether it’s a wedding or a birthday, on special occasions some pregnant women will treat themselves to a glass or two of bubbly.

While this infrequent treat may seem harmless, a new study has warned that this may not be the case after all.

Researchers from the University of Queensland have revealed that even small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy can increase the baby’s risk of developing diabetes.

In the study, which was performed on rats, the researchers mimicked ‘special occasion drinking’ during pregnancy, and looked at the effect on the offspring.

It’s sparked a heated debate (Image: Science Photo Library RF)

The results showed that while the mothers’ blood alcohol concentration only reached 0.05%, their male offspring had much higher insulin levels than normal, and almost became diabetic as a result.

Strangely, this effect was only seen in male offspring.

While the reason for this remains unclear, the researchers suggest that during pregnancy, the placenta may adapt to a prenatal stress differently depending on if it’s a male or female, and that this can impact growth and development.

It’s important to note that the study was only performed on mice, and further research is needed to verify whether the same findings apply to humans.

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Lisa Alison, senior author of the study, said: “Even a small amount of alcohol during pregnancy can be harmful, so if you’re planning on getting pregnant don’t drink.

“Families, partners and friends should support a woman’s choice not to drink alcohol during pregnancy.

“If a woman accidentally becomes pregnant, and unknowingly drinks alcohol during the first part of their pregnancy, the important thing once they know is to stop drinking, have a good diet and take care of themselves throughout the remainder of the pregnancy.”