Drinking one or two glasses of alcohol per week during pregnancy doesn't have negative effects on the child, a University College London study finds. Researchers studied 12,495 three-year-old children and their mothers' drinking habits during pregnancy and assessed the effects on their children.
"Our research has found that light drinking by pregnant mothers does not increase the risk of behavioural difficulties or cognitive deficits. Indeed, for some behavioural and cognitive outcomes, children born to light drinkers were less likely to have problems compared to children of abstinent mothers, although children born to heavy drinkers were more likely to have problems compared to children of mothers who drank nothing whilst pregnant," explained Dr Yvonne Kelly, lead author of the study.
The data also showed that boys born to light drinkers had higher vocabulary test scores and could more easily identify colors, shapes, numbers and letters compared to those who's mothers didn't drink. Girls born to light drinkers were 30% less likely to have emotional issues and peer problems compared to those born to abstainers.
Dr. Kelly adds, "Our study's findings do raise questions as to whether the current push for policy to recommend complete abstinence during pregnancy is merited and suggest that further research needs to be done."
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