Why are we doing the AQUA study?
Women are told not to drink during pregnancy to protect their
babies, but can the occasional glass of wine cause any harm? And
what if a woman has already had a drink before knowing she is
pregnant? We are seeking to answer these questions through the AQUA
As we don't know how much alcohol pregnant women can drink
without harming the developing baby, not drinking any alcohol is
the safest option. Our lack of knowledge in this area has the
potential to cause anxiety for women who have drunk even small
amounts of alcohol before realising they are pregnant. It can also
create problems for doctors and midwives about how to best advise
Through their involvement in this research project, participants
will help researchers find out whether low or moderate alcohol
drinking during pregnancy adversely affects early childhood health
and development. In the future this information may be useful for
women planning to be pregnant, pregnant women, and the health
professionals who provide maternity care.
What does the AQUA study involve?
We have collected detailed information about alcohol drinking in
pregnancy from 1,572 pregnant women to assess the effect of
different amounts of alcohol on the unborn child, using three
questionnaires, one in each trimester of pregnancy. We have also
collected information on things that might influence the effects of
alcohol such as diet, medication and body size. Women participating
in the AQUA study will also be sent a questionnaire about the
health and development of their baby, when their baby is 12 months
old. Some participants will be invited to have a 3D photo of their
baby's face and head taken at 12 months of age, and a developmental
assessment done at 2 years of age.
The general aim of this research is to collect detailed
information about alcohol consumption in pregnancy from a large
group of pregnant women and to assess the effect of different doses
of alcohol and other associated influences on the unborn child.
The specific aims of this project are to find out whether:
- low to moderate quantities of alcohol at various stages of
pregnancy are associated with problems in the health and
development of young children at birth and at 12-24 months of age
- maternal DNA variations, specific dietary factors or other
environmental influences can affect the impact of low to moderate
quantities of alcohol in pregnancy