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.
“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.