About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Pregnancy and 'Light' Drinking can Give You a “smarter, Well-behaved Child”

by Tanya Thomas on November 1, 2008 at 11:20 AM
Font : A-A+

 Pregnancy and 'Light' Drinking can Give You a “smarter, Well-behaved Child”

Researchers at the University College London have thrashed theories by old-time naysayers and have ushered in a new reality about alcohol and pregnancy - small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy does not increase the child's future risk of behavioral problems. In the contrary, it actually improves the babies' behavior and vocabulary.

The boffins have defined "light" drinking as up to two drinks a week throughout pregnancy.


The study of 12,500 three-year-olds even found a lower risk of some problems in children of such drinkers.

However, experts were divided over whether the study was reassuring or could lull women into a false sense of security, reports BBC.

Although experts say pregnant women, or those trying to conceive, should avoid drinking alcohol, but if they do choose to drink, they should drink no more than one or two units of alcohol once or twice a week and should not get drunk, the researchers said.

The relationship between sustained heavy drinking in pregnancy and health problems for the child is well-established.

In most severe cases, boozing can cause miscarriage or stillbirth, or permanent damage to the growing fetus.

A small number of babies in the most severe cases can be born with "fetal alcohol syndrome", with symptoms including growth and mental retardation.

To reach the conclusion, the University College London team asked mothers about how much alcohol they had drunk during pregnancy when their babies were nine months old.

Light drinking was classed as ranging from one drink every so often to two drinks per week, while moderate drinking was between three and six units per week or three to five per one occasion.

Heavy drinking was regarded as seven or more units per week or at least six per occasion.

While 63percent of the mothers had abstained from alcohol completely during pregnancy, 29percent had been light drinkers, 6 percent moderate and 2 percent heavy, the study found, which has been published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

The researchers then went back when the children were three to ask about their behavior and understanding.

The study found boys born to light drinkers were 40 percent less likely to have conduct problems and 30 percent less likely to be hyperactive than those whose mothers had abstained.

They also scored more highly on vocabulary tests and on identifying colors, shapes, letters and numbers.

Dr Yvonne Kelly, the epidemiologist who led the study, said: "Our research has found that light drinking by pregnant mothers does not increase the risk of behavioral problems and cognitive defects. The reasons behind these findings might in part be because light drinkers tend to be more socially advantaged than abstainers, rather than being due to the physical benefits of low level alcohol consumption seen, for example, in heart disease.

"However, it may also be that light-drinking mothers tend to be more relaxed themselves and this contributes to better behavioral and cognitive outcomes in their children."

Source: ANI

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Memory Loss - Can it be Recovered?
International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021 - Fighting for Rights in the Post-COVID Era
Effect of Blood Group Type on COVID-19 Risk and Severity
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Trimester of pregnancy Pregnancy and Exercise Home Pregnancy Test Pregnancy Psychological Changes In Pregnancy Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation Breech Presentation and Delivery Air travel: To fly or not to fly Diet Lifestyle and Heart Disease Pregnancy and Antenatal Care 

Recommended Reading
Bubbles and Brews - Alcohol Facts
There is more to alcohol than mere intoxication. Infamous because of its social abuse but ......
Alcohol Self Screening Test
Take this anonymous self-test to evaluate your alcohol consumption and determine if your drinking .....
Scientists Identify How Binge Drinking can Batter Your Bones
A Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine study has found a possible mechanism by which ......
Air travel: To fly or not to fly
Air travel is for everyone, even those with medical conditions....
Breech Presentation and Delivery
Breech birth or presentation is delivery of the fetus in a bottom or foot-first position. Causes of ...
Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation
During pregnancy & lactation a nutritious diet, suitable exercise, adequate rest and a tranquil mind...
Home Pregnancy Test
A home pregnancy test is a test done to find out if one is pregnant or not in the relative comforts ...
Detailed look at Early pregnancy Symptoms and easy health solutions during 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimeste...
Pregnancy and Antenatal Care
What is Antenatal care and its importance during pregnancy for mother and baby, with details on the ...
Psychological Changes In Pregnancy
Pregnancy is an experience of growth, change, enrichment and challenge. During the 40 weeks of pregn...
Trimester of pregnancy
Encyclopedia section of medindia explains in brief about confirmation of pregnancy in first ......

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use