Researchers led by University of Queensland's School of Population Health have found that children of mothers who had drunk alcohol during their pregnancies struggle to match the academic pace of their peers by the time they are 11 years old.
The researchers studied the NAPLAN-style school tests of over 7,000 children in England and found that children, whose mothers regularly drank two 150ml glasses of wine or about two stubbies of full-strength beer in the first 18 months of their pregnancy, underperformed compared to children born to mothers who did not drink.
The researchers also said that the frequency of the mother's drinking during pregnancy was directly related the level of underperformance of the child. Drinking half a glass of wine however was found to have no effect on the child's academic performance though the researchers said that expecting mothers should refrain from alcohol during their pregnancy. The study has been published in the journal PLOS One.
"In this study that translates into poorer academic outcomes at age 11. It remains unclear whether any amount of alcohol is safe in pregnancy. The safest plan is to avoid it", co-author of the study Dr Ron Gray said.