Asking Questions About Alcohol in Pregnancy (AQUA) Study

Research area: Clinical Sciences > Victorian Infant Brain Studies (VIBeS) | Status: Active

People doing research

AQUA is one of the world’s largest long-term studies looking at the possible effects on child development of drinking low or moderate levels of alcohol in pregnancy.

Women are told not to drink during pregnancy to protect their babies. But can the occasional glass of wine hurt? And what if a woman has already had a drink before knowing she is pregnant? 

The Murdoch Institute is seeking to answer these questions through the AQUA study.

Women are told not to drink during pregnancy to protect their babies. But can the occasional glass of wine hurt? And what if a woman has already had a drink before knowing she is pregnant? 

The Murdoch Institute is seeking to answer these questions...

Women are told not to drink during pregnancy to protect their babies. But can the occasional glass of wine hurt? And what if a woman has already had a drink before knowing she is pregnant? 

The Murdoch Institute is seeking to answer these questions through the AQUA study.

Overview

aqua logoCurrently, we don't know how much alcohol pregnant women can safely drink without harming the developing baby, so avoiding alcohol entirely is the best option.

The lack of knowledge in this area has the potential to cause anxiety for women who drink even small amounts of alcohol before realising they are pregnant.

This also creates problems for doctors and midwives about how to best advise women.

Through their involvement in this research project, participants are helping 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 get pregnant, pregnant women, and the health professionals who provide maternity care.

Aims of AQUA

The research aims 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 and,
  • Maternal DNA variations, specific dietary factors,factors, or other environmental influences can affect the impact of low-to-moderate quantities of alcohol in pregnancy.

Our study has been conducted in two stages.

AQUA Stage 1: Pregnancy to 24 months

AQUA researchers have collected detailed information about alcohol consumption during pregnancy from nearly 1,600 pregnant women to assess the impact of different amounts of alcohol on the unborn child. 

Read more

AQUA Stage 2: Early School Years (AQUA at 6)

A second stage of the study took place between July 2018 and April 2021 and involved follow-up of the study children as they entered school-age.

Read more

Child in hospital

Tomorrow's cures need your donations today

Donate now