Women who drink when pregnant have ‘better behaved children’

8th January, 2014 by Lauren Eads

Children of mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy are “better behaved”, according to one study.

Drinking when pregnant 'harms child's IQ' (Image - NHS)Research from Denmark suggests women who have the occasional drink during pregnancy have children who are better adjusted than the offspring of those who abstain.

According to The Telegraph, results of the study showed that the children of women who drank up to a bottle of wine per month while pregnant were emotionally better off by the time they reached the age of seven than children whose mothers had stayed teetotal.

The study is based on a long-term study by the University of Copenhagen of more than 100,000 pregnant Danish women who were asked about their drinking habits.

However authors of the study warned the findings should not be taken as an invitation to drink during pregnancy and that the results were likely to be a result of other factors including the mother’s lifestyle rather than the amount she had drunk during pregnancy.

Official NHS advice is for mothers-to-be to avoid alcohol altogether.

Janni Niclasen, a psychologist at the University of Copenhagen, said: “My study shows, among other things, that the children of mothers who drank small quantities of alcohol — 90 units or more — during their pregnancies show significantly better emotional and behavioural outcomes at age seven compared to children of mothers who did not drink at all.

“At first sight this makes no sense, since alcohol during pregnancy is not seen as beneficial to child behaviour.

“But when you look at the lifestyle of the mothers, you find an explanation.

“Mothers who drank 90 units or more of alcohol turn out to be the most well-educated and [have the] healthiest lifestyle overall.”

Ninety units of alcohol is the equivalent of a glass of wine a week, or a bottle a month, during the course of a pregnancy.

Janet Fyle, professional policy adviser at the Royal College of Midwives, said studies had repeatedly concluded alcohol was harmful during pregnancy and should be avoided.

She said: “We get well adjusted children by paying attention to them when they are young.

“You don’t get well-adjusted children by drinking alcohol during pregnancy.”

 

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