Up to 17% of children in the UK could have symptoms of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, according to latest estimates

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Cheryl McQuire, University of Bristol

The UK has the fourth highest prevalence of drinking in pregnancy in the world. This puts a significant number of people at risk of a group of conditions known as foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Until now, though, the prevalence of FASD in the UK has not been known. Continue reading

Autism not linked to eating fish during pregnancy – large new study

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Caroline Taylor, University of Bristol

Eating fish while you’re pregnant does not increase the chance that your child will be autistic or have autistic traits, our latest study shows. In fact, our study suggests that fish may be beneficial for the development of a healthy nervous system.

A possible link between mercury exposure and autism has been the subject of much debate over the years. In pregnancy, mercury travels in the mother’s blood through the placenta and into the foetus, where it acts as a toxin, affecting the development of the foetal nervous system. Continue reading

Complex guidelines on eating fish when pregnant mean that mothers – and babies – are missing out

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Caroline Taylor, University of Bristol

As soon as women find out they’re pregnant, they are overwhelmed with information about what they can – or more likely can’t – eat and drink. Off the menu go soft cheeses, partially cooked eggs, raw meat, pâté, liver, caffeine, alcohol. It’s a lot to remember.

But the advice on eating fish when pregnant is the by far the most complex. Does it need to be so complicated? What is the actual evidence of the risks and benefits of eating fish for a mother-to-be? Continue reading