Articles

‘Even small amounts of alcohol may harm baby’s IQ’

Tags: alcohol , pregnancy

If you are pregnant, drinking even a couple of glasses of wine a week may harm your baby’s future intelligence, researchers suspect.

Experts at the universities of Bristol and Oxford found children whose mothers drank moderate amounts – 1 to 6 units per week – while pregnant had lower IQs when they were 8 years old.

The researchers looked at data from over 4,000 mothers and their children, and reported their findings in the journal PLoS One.

They say the change in IQ that they observed was “small but significant” and that their findings suggest levels of alcohol consumption which are normally considered to be harmless may not actually be during pregnancy.

Dr Ron Gray from the University of Oxford, who led the research, said the take-home message for women was simple – avoid alcohol if you are pregnant.

The Department of Health already advises women who are trying to conceive or are pregnant to avoid alcohol and smoking, as well as take other precautions.  

Experts stressed that the latest findings were not proof that alcohol causes harm. There is no evidence that an occasional alcoholic drink in pregnancy is dangerous.

There are a number of other factors, including education and upbringing, that influence IQ.

The researchers say they account for these by looking at genetic differences in the women and children in the study that are not thought to be connected to lifestyle and social factors.

Visit our Pregnancy and Childcare Centre where you will find more information on pre-conceptual care.

Source © Trio Media 2012

back to top


Ask the expert

Got a question?
Our team of medical experts are ready to help.