Drinking alcohol in moderation while pregnant does not affect a baby's neurodevelopment, a new study claims.
Researchers found that children whose mothers drank the equivalent of a glass of wine a day were able to balance just as well as those who had not been exposed to alcohol in the womb.
The study also revealed mothers who were more affluent and better educated were more likely to drink in moderation, while those from a working class background were more likely to either abstain from alcohol through pregnancy or to drink heavily or binge drink.
Nearly 7,000 10-year-olds took part in balance tests, which are an indicator of prenatal neurodevelopment.
Researchers also recorded the drinking habits of mums during and after pregnancy, although there weren't many heavy drinkers. Those who drank three to seven glasses of alcohol a week were classed as moderate drinkers.
"When we compared moderate drinkers with women who didn't drink at all we actually found that in relation to a number of different tests of balance the children of moderate drinkers appeared to do better," said Professor John Macleod, from the University of Bristol's School of Social and Community Medicine.
"However, we also found that the women who moderately drank compared to women who didn't drink tended to be more middle class. They were more socially advantaged. Having a middle class mum compared to having a working class mum is likely to advance a child in a lot of ways. They may have better balance, they might do better at school."
Copyright Press Association 2013