And now a team of researchers from Bristol University has conducted a study into the area of light drinking, and found there is "surprisingly limited" evidence that drinking up to four units a week poses any risk to the baby, such as birth defects, developmental delay and behavioural problems.
They found that in seven of the studies, light drinking was associated with an 8% higher risk of giving birth to a smaller baby, compared to no drinking at all.
"We know that alcohol can cause harm both at a cellular level and a clinical level therefore the precautionary approach is safest and one of the reasons is that often people who are given the go-ahead to drink will drink more than they are advised to drink".
Last year Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer, issued fresh guidance on alcohol, saying: "Although the risk of harm to the baby is low if [mothers] have drunk small amounts of alcohol before becoming aware of the pregnancy, there is no "safe" level of alcohol to drink when you are pregnant".
For most of the consequences the researchers analyzed, there were only a few observational studies that compared light to non-alcohol consumption.
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Still, he said, "the message from the March of Dimes is: Don't drink alcohol if you're pregnant, trying to get pregnant or think you may be pregnant".
Likewise drinking up to four units or 32g a week was associated with an 10 percent increased risk of premature birth. The researchers behind the new study defined a drink as the equivalent of a pint of strong beer or a medium-sized glass of light white wine, Mamluk said.
The evidence proving light drinking was unsafe was "surprisingly limited", they concluded.
Some experts believe the new total abstinence guidelines are based on "generally weak" evidence and that women should be warned of any potential risks and then left to make up their own mind without being made to feel guilty if they have one or two drinks a week.
Many pregnant women wonder if one glass is safe.
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They did find that, compared to abstaining, light drinking (roughly two drinks per week) may be linked with a higher risk of preterm birth and a higher risk of delivering a small baby.
The evidence on how much, if any, is safe to drink, or at what stages of pregnancy, is notable by its absence, they add.
Pregnant women who drink up to two standard glasses of wine a week are unlikely to harm their unborn baby, a new study suggested.
Moms-to-be know that heavy drinking during pregnancy can cause physical, mental, behavioral, and learning disabilities in babies.
Andrew Shennan, professor of obstetrics at King's College London, said: "It has been hard to associate low levels of alcohol intake in pregnancy and harm, and this work confirms this".
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For example, a 2013 study from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, also published in BMJ Open, followed 6,915 children whose mothers had between none to moderate amounts of alcohol during pregnancy.