‘Light Drinking’ During Pregnancy is Not Harmful for Baby, Study Says

No need for booze-fasting when you're carrying.

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The French are starting to drink like Anglo-Saxons.

Here’s reassuring news to the 1 in 13 pregnant women in the U.S. (or the 50% of pregnant women in the UK) who don’t want to give up booze for nine months: Light drinking during pregnancy — up to 2 units of alcohol a week — does not increase the risk of children developing adverse behavioral or cognitive abilities, reports a study published in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Researchers tracked 10,534 seven-year-olds in the U.K. by conducting interviews and questionnaires with parents and teachers to identify abnormal social and emotional behavior (such as hyperactivity, attention defecits or conduct problems). In addition, researchers quizzed the kids in math, reading, and spatial skills. Comparing the results of children born to mothers who were light drinkers and those who abstained from alcohol during pregnancy, researchers found no significant difference between the abilities of the two groups of seven-year-olds. In fact, when looking at boys born to light drinkers, researchers found them to have slightly fewer reported behavioral problems and higher reading and spatial skills.

(MOREAlcohol Doesn’t Affect Ability to Survive Breast Cancer)

“This is a very good paper and controlled for socio-economic and cultural confounding factors as well as possible. Although it didn’t control for all of them — like IQ,” Patrick O’Brien, a spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said in an interview with the BBC.

But researchers caution that their research is still a work in progress since the children could exhibit adverse effects later in life. “It remains unclear as to what level of alcohol consumption may have adverse outcomes so this should not alter current advice and if women are worried about consumption levels the safest option would be to abstain from drinking during pregnancy,” advises John Thorp, the journal’s Deputy-Editor-in-Chief in a statement.

MORE: Beer’s Taste Alone Can Trigger Desire for Drink

 

66 comments
AnneRussell1
AnneRussell1

There are so many factors other than alcohol which can increase or reduce the severity of outcomes in the baby.  These include other drugs used, height and weight of the mother, gravidity, parity, DNA, epigenetics, nutrition.  Its Russian roulette if anyone thinks they can get away clean.  My young son who is significantly affected now walked at 9 months, talked early and met all his developmental milestones.  It was only when he hit puberty that the wheels really fell off.  My oldest son had every symptom as a baby and toddler but he can now live a normal life although he has a few physical problems.  Im not telling my story to frighten you or make you angry.  Im telling it to show that we can only be certain that our child has his or her normal God-given IQ and capacity if we abstain from alcohol consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding.  If I had my time over again, Ideally I would prepare my body 6-3 months prior to conception and not drink, eat healthily and ALSO I would insist that my husband do the same.  Researchers are now seeing changes in the children of mothers who did not use alcohol but whose fathers used alcohol and or drugs heavily.  There is so much we don't know and so much we are learning.  The only thing that we need to know is that alcohol is a teratogen - a substance that is known to cause birth defects.  Anne

annerussell
annerussell

I am the mother of two children (biological) with FASD.  The youngest one has lived for 28 years with the anguish of knowing what his friends can and have achieved but is too damaged to achieve these things for himself.  He is living a life of agony, despair, depression, anxiety and all because i used alcohol while pregnant.  Never believe headlines like these.  Never believe research like this.  For the sake of your children please dont do what i did.  My son will pay for it for the rest of his life.

For more information visit www.rffada.org.  "FASD is devastating. What disability results in sufferers being good at small talk but without substance? Then add a kind heart but a violent temper, complex needs but no insight, a small frame with big expectations and perhaps worst of all, a damaged mind but a beautiful face."

MelanieLewis
MelanieLewis

@JoannTaylor @annerussell There is NO known safe amount. I know some women have gotten lucky but is that really the dice you want to roll? The current Surgeon General recommendation is zero alcohol if you are pregnant or even trying to get pregnant or may be pregnant.  

MelanieLewis
MelanieLewis

@annerussell As an adoptive Mom I salute your honesty and bravery. THANK YOU. Education of this epidemic is non existent and I could have been one of you as it never occurred to me that I should not be drinking while sexually active and not on the pill. 

AnneRussell1
AnneRussell1

@JoannTaylor @annerussell 

Hi sorry I missed this - I remember drinking around 2-4 drinks 3-4 nights a week.  I don't ever remember getting drunk and there would have been many days I didn't drink.  Researchers are saying that even the smallest amount of alcohol causes changes at a molecular level.  Many successful people have been prenatally exposed to alcohol, its not all bad news, but if your child is younger than 12 or 13, bear this in mind if things start going bad.  If you remember drinking and your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, try to find a clinic which diagnoses FASD in children.  The earlier you can get a diagnosis, the earlier you can start appropriate interventions and the better chance the child will have :)


AnneRussell1
AnneRussell1

@MelanieLewis @annerussell 

Thanks Melanie.  Its people like you who are looking after many of our children because their bio parents are unable to and we appreciate it more than we can say.  The rffada operates on a no blame no shame ethos.  We know that women drink for all sorts of reasons.  In Australia, the main reason is lack of a national education campaign - at the moment women are confused.  I am just a mother but the UK obstetricians and gynaecologists guidelines say all you have to do is not drink in the first trimester and you can have a little after that - who do you believe?  These guys are telling pregnant women that it is ok to have a small amount of a substance that is KNOWN to cause birth defects!.  Thanks Melanie :)

AnnYurcek
AnnYurcek

Just a rebuttal written from my blog. As the article said, adverse reactions in later childhood is still under investigation. For anyone who understands the effects of alcohol on children, until age 9 children are concrete learners and kids with FASD's often do not fall behind until after the transition of concrete to abstract thinking. They fall further from their peer groups the older they get. Until the study if over that headline should be the Jury is out.  http://www.annystribe.blogspot.com/2013/04/there-not-done-yet-jury-is-still-out-on.html

Here is the rebuttal from the NOFAS.org http://www.nofas.org/news/nofas-responds-to-light-drinking-research/

marleneld
marleneld

The final line of the article says "It remains unclear as to what level of alcohol consumption may have adverse outcomes so this should not alter current advice and if women are worried about consumption levels the safest option would be to abstain from drinking during pregnancy".

Why doesn't the headline say that instead of "Light Drinking’ During Pregnancy is Not Harmful for Baby"?



Evelyn Samuel
Evelyn Samuel

Shame, research from imperfect,flawed humans whose ideas,thoughts &research change almost daily! Who knows the next research would probably approve a "light" dose of drugs perhaps!? Why take any risk with a precious life?

Christel Nickum
Christel Nickum

I was also told no smoking, coffee or soda. So I don't understand why alcohol would be OK. I didn't drink those things even before pregnancy, so it wasn't difficult for me. I also had to cut out certain foods but better to be safe than sorry! Your baby doesn't get a redo on the womb!

Nikhil Kurian
Nikhil Kurian

Not welcome.. After some time some other studies well come out contradicting this study. Why take the risk.? No alcohol during pregnancy.

Gregory Kirkos
Gregory Kirkos

Why are people so extreme on this? There are much worse things you can do, such as speeding in your SUV.

Lovely Zacal
Lovely Zacal

Catty is everywhere...don't be selfish nor catty mother. Thru da mother da growing fetus can be affected, she is da only connecting link with outside world, dat means dat she is in da Driver's seat whether what she done it had èffect on da baby 2 be born.

Michele Havrilchak
Michele Havrilchak

If someone needs a drink that bad that they can't wait for 9 short months, then maybe they shouldn't have children at all. It's an innocent baby! It doesn't need booze!

Lynne Norella Tracy
Lynne Norella Tracy

Sickening. No amount of alcohol during pregnancy is safe. Gerald Tracy

Deanna Kelly
Deanna Kelly

Okay, but why take any chances? It's only 9 months. If you can't go that long without a drink, you have a problem called "I'm not ready to be a parent yet."

Natalie Edmonds
Natalie Edmonds

Of course its not an issue to have one or two drinks when pregnant, I did and my son is ahead (walking at 8 months independently, completeing tasks usually expected to be achieved at 2years old at the one year old development check etc). You know we even used to give women Guinness in maternity hospitals to aid with iron. I have only ever heard of cases of potential fetal alcohol syndrome issues and that was where the mother was an alcoholic and had cut down her drinking to two bottles of whisky a day (2litres of a high proof alcohol) I wouldn't want to drink that much ever but a nice glass of wine or traditional Somerset cider is nice treat which is the point everything in moderation!

Ramon Ramoncito
Ramon Ramoncito

Se pasan de pendejos!. Así que el asno peña, es de los más influyentes. Cuáles son sus parámetros. Bueno, que se puede esperar, quieren el petróleo de este país, y pués, es necesario ser algo lambiscones.

Steve Lavoie
Steve Lavoie

Until next month when a new study says it causes fetal cancer. Put the booze away.

Dwayne Leon
Dwayne Leon

TIME, one thing you're really good at is telling it like it is... at least now people get to see for themselves the REAL intentions of whoever keeps doing these "studies"...

Holly Dorman McDonald
Holly Dorman McDonald

Prenatal alcohol exposure causes life long brain damage. If you are in doubt, visit www.nofas.org

Anires Relheo
Anires Relheo

My grandma drank vodka all through her pregnancy with my father. He showed no signs of fetal alcohol syndrome, got good grades in school, and created me, and I'm awesome. I'm not saying Be an alcoholic while building baby, but i do know from my own textbooks that FAS is elusive to scientists across the board due to the fact that many mothers drink and their babies show no developmental delay. I very occasionally had a glass of wine during both my pregnancies and neither of my children have any allergies or developmental delays. Tabitha is literally at the top of her class. The only thing that my textbooks agreed on unanimously as being harmful for mom and baby, was acute stress. If a drink will alleviate that, then perhaps the benefits outweigh the potential risk.

MelanieLewis
MelanieLewis

Sometimes people win when playing roulette. That does not mean everyone should bet on it. I think genetics and nutrition have a lot to do with the outcome but I would never agree that because one persons family smoked and never got cancer it is okay for everyone to smoke because they will not get cancer. I am glad that you were one of the lucky ones. 

AnneRussell1
AnneRussell1

@MelanieLewis 

Yes agreed Melanie  - the thing that geneticists are finding now that the damage done by prenatal alcohol consumption can be handed down to 3 generations.

John D. Izzo Jr.
John D. Izzo Jr.

This is so completely irresponsible Time; whether science says its ok or not, the responsible thing to do is not always the easiest. I might consider cancelling my subscription over your support of this.

Kathleen Gust Ramstrom
Kathleen Gust Ramstrom

What if u have one then two then six pack no thanks i had a friend who had juat quote one martini to help speed delivery and im assuming it was more like a few a week..mher son came out with issuses she became born again never drank again and the guilt has been with here for twenty yrs of not knowimg if liquor and issies were connected....just say no to liquor and cigs and bad food for nine months and during nursing .......the child in uterus and after birth they rely on their mammas

TGod Madueke
TGod Madueke

Balderdash, feed thy unborn child with rubbish and you'll get nonsense. No wonder there are many crazy people coming up amids us by day, that's because they started getting intoxicated right from the womb.

Karin Tyson
Karin Tyson

I have heard in the past that drinking a small glass of red wine every once in awhile was okay while pregnant, but I was not willing to take that risk.

Manjari Ganti
Manjari Ganti

If you can't go 9 months without alcohol, you probably shouldn't even be having a baby. I would feel bad for it from the start

Silvia Figueroa
Silvia Figueroa

Ummm no! Skeptical about the "word" units when referring to drinks. Research sponsor? probably Vodka or the alike. See First 5 California to check facts or brain development longitudinal studies.

Maya Levine
Maya Levine

Well, I am one of those moms who had an occasional small glass of wine with dinner while I was pregnant but not in the first few months. I am from Europe and it's not considered a big deal. I don't think that a glass of wine while consumed with dinner can harm the baby at all. I also did pre natal yoga every day , eat very healthy overall and my baby was graded 9 out of 10. Iwould never eat fast food while pregnant but I did have an OCCASIONAL glass of wine. That to me is common sense.

Martin Spiegel
Martin Spiegel

I've always heard that light drinking is good for the heart. Perhaps it could even help baby.

Amy Joy Lenz
Amy Joy Lenz

I think it’s very sad that some mothers can’t handle living a healthy lifestyle for 40 weeks.

Bagdat Zhaxy
Bagdat Zhaxy

Why the hell someone would do such a «study»?! You must NOT drink whether you are pregnant or not, both men and women! No need for "study"!

Aleigh Glazier
Aleigh Glazier

The study was published in the international journal of obstetrics and gynecology...

Derek James Kline
Derek James Kline

Just gives drunken future mothers an excuse to drink. Still a stupid idea.