Pregnant women 'can drink wine'

Tags: alcohol , pregnancy

New research has shown children born to women who drink one small glass of wine a week while they are pregnant do not have an increased risk of suffering any cognitive or behavioural problems.

Published in the journal BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the study said drinking a small amount throughout pregnancy is not linked to behavioural outcomes in childhood.

The authors of the study wanted to examine the effects of low-level alcohol consumption after previous research highlighted links between heavy drinking during pregnancy with health and development problems in children.

As part of the research, more than 10,000 seven-year-olds were asked to take cognitive tests, while their parents and teachers completed interviews and questionnaires about the children's emotional and social behaviour.

The results show that children born to women who drank two units or less a week during their pregnancy had slightly lower scores for behavioural difficulty. Children born to mothers who abstained from drinking had higher test scores for maths, reading and spatial awareness.

But when the scores were adjusted to consider confounding factors, there was little difference between the two. In fact, the study found that boys born to mothers who drank a small amount of wine scored better for reading and spatial skills.

The authors wrote: "In this large, nationally representative study of seven-year-olds,there appeared to be no increased risk of a negative impact of light drinking in pregnancy on behavioural or cognitive development.

"Our findings... support the suggestion that low levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy are not linked to behavioural or cognitive problems during early to mid-childhood."

Copyright Press Association 2013

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