Drinking Alcohol in moderation during pregnancy does not harm children

A research was conducted by Dr Yvonne Kelly of the Epidemiology & Public Health department of University College London (UCL) and colleagues and other research establishments in the UK to ascertain the effects of alcohol during pregnancy.

The researchers found that drinking 1 to 2 units of alcohol per week does not harm children in the mother’s womb. These children were at no greater risk of developing behavioral problems as those whose mother abstained from alcohol during pregnancy.

The researchers used data from the UK Millennium Cohort Study, which covered 12,495 three year-old children. Their mothers were interviewed about their drinking patterns during pregnancy. The researchers then assessed behavioral and cognitive outcomes of the children.

Kelly said, "The link between heavy drinking during pregnancy and consequent poor behavioral and cognitive outcomes in children is well established."

"However, very few studies have considered whether light drinking in pregnancy is a risk for behavioral and cognitive problems in children," she added.

"Heavy drinking during pregnancy appears to be associated with behavioral problems and cognitive deficits in offspring at age 3 years whereas light drinking does not," they added.

At the same time the researchers also highlighted the possible reasons for their results.

"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," she added.