Well Being

You Can Stop Giving Dirty Looks To That Pregnant Woman With The Merlot

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You Can Stop Giving Dirty Looks To That Pregnant Woman With The Merlot shutterstock 49830313 640x480 jpg

In the latest installment of “Should pregnant women drink alcohol?”, a new study says it’s fine in moderation, even during early pregnancy.

Remember this next time you’re tempted to think badly about a visibly pregnant woman enjoying a little libation, okay? Children born to women who drank one to two small alcoholic drinks per week while pregnant weren’t any more likely to suffer cognitive or behavioral problems than those whose mothers teetotaled.

Heavy drinking during pregnancy is still a bad bad idea, the researchers warn, but low-level alcohol consumption might actually be beneficial to developing fetuses. HuffPost UK reports:

The study, published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, saw more than 10,000 seven-year-olds take cognitive tests and their parents and teachers completed interviews and questionnaires to test the children’s social and emotional behaviour.

The findings suggested that children born to light drinkers – those who drank two units or less a week – had lower behavioural difficulty scores than children born to mothers who abstained from drinking during pregnancy. Similarly they were found to have higher cognitive test scores for reading, maths and spatial skills tests.

When the authors adjusted for potential confounding factors, however, the scores for both groups of children were similar. The only differences that remained were male children born to light drinkers had slightly fewer behavioral problems and better reading and spatial skills.

Regardless, “there appears to be no increased risk of negative impacts of light drinking in pregnancy on behavioural or cognitive development in 7-year-old children,” the researchers conclude.

But John Thorp, deputy-editor-in-chief of BJOG, points out that “it remains unclear as to what level of alcohol consumption may have adverse outcomes.” This new research “should not alter current advice,” he said, “and if women are worried about consumption levels the safest option would be to abstain from drinking during pregnancy.”