SCOTTISH researchers have found that no amount of alcohol is safe to consume during pregnancy at any stage.

A research team which included experts from the University of Aberdeen studied how expectant mothers’ consumption of alcohol affects foetal brain development.

The international group investigated the biological changes in the brain that drive foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) using complex network theory to analyse brain signals. Their findings are published in the journal Chaos.

Responding, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Director for Scotland, Dr Mary Ross Davie, said: “We welcome this study which provides us with further insight into the long-term effects that alcohol consumed during pregnancy can have on the brain development of the baby.

“Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) resulting from drinking alcohol in pregnancy can have a serious and life long impact on a person’s life right into adulthood.

“This study reaffirms the advice from midwives and the RCM to all women that no level of drinking in pregnancy is safe.

“We would advise any woman who is trying to become pregnant or who thinks they may be in the early stages of pregnancy to refrain from drinking any alcohol. If you need help or support to do this, please do speak to your GP or midwife.”