Light drinking during pregnancy OK

It is well known that children of women who drink heavily during pregnancy are at high risk of developing behavioral, emotional and cognitive problems in childhood. But there is a vigorous and ongoing debate (usually going on behind closed doors) over whether it is okay for women to have an occasional glass of wine or a beer during pregnancy.

Most doctors would officially warn against drinking at all as a slippery slope best avoided. But in the age of evidence-based medicine, is there any data suggesting light drinking harms the developing baby? A new study out of the United Kingdom that tracked thousands of kids until the age of five, finds no such evidence of harm.

The study in the current issue of the Journal of Epidemiological and Community Health reports that at the age of five, children “born to mothers who drank up to 1-2 drinks per week … during pregnancy were not at increased risk of clinically relevant behavioral difficulties or cognitive deficits compared with children of mothers” who completely stopped drinking during their pregnancies.

The researchers from University College London and other universities used data on 11,513 children in a nationally representative cohort in the UK.

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