A new study claims that pregnant women who indulge in one glass of wine a day in their first trimester may have better behaved children than those who abstain from alcohol or drink heavily.
But study leader Dr Monique Robinson advised pregnant women to stick to national guidelines, which recommend expectant mothers abstain from alcohol, and to speak to their doctor, reports Stuff.co.nz.
The researchers recorded the weekly drinking habits of women during the early stages of pregnancy, and then monitored the behavioural and emotional patterns of their children during their early teenage years.
Researchers found that children of mothers who drank in moderation had lower risk of becoming depressed or reacting aggressively, while mothers who didn't drink during their first trimester had trouble getting their children to behave.
The results were determined through a study of women divided into groups of non-drinkers, moderate drinkers and heavy drinkers, after which psychologists used a standard checklist. Dr Robinson said the research would help alleviate any guilt for women who had drunk alcohol before they found out they were pregnant.
King Edward Memorial Hospital's Women and Newborn Health Service recommends pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers follow Australian guidelines that suggest there is no "safe" level of drinking.
However, Women and Newborn Drug and Alcohol Service clinical midwifery consultant Sadie Geraghty objected saying "moderation" is a subjective term and that no period during pregnancy is safe for drinking.
The study is published in the obstetrics and gynecology journal BJOG.