A glass of wine a day while pregnant may ‘help baby development’

19th June, 2013 by Rupert Millar

Drinking a glass of wine a day while pregnant may not be as harmful to unborn babies as previously thought new research suggests.

Drinking when pregnant 'harms child's IQ' (Image - NHS)Contrary to conventional wisdom that drinking harms the foetus, research by the University of Bristol has apparently found that three to seven glasses of wine a week does not harm a child’s neurodevelopment.

To add to the confusion, the study partially contradicts a report published by scientists at Oxford and Bristol universities last year, which said that even a small amount of alcohol while pregnant had an effect on a child’s IQ.

While testing children for balance, which is also used as a marker for development, the study found that the babies of the mothers who had drunk wine while pregnant performed better.

Professor John Macleod, of the School of Social and Community Medicine at Bristol University, said: “Low to moderate alcohol consumption did not seem to interfere with a child’s ability to balance for any of the three components assessed.”

The study also drew a link between natal alcohol consumption and wealth and age.

Those who drank a little while pregnant tended to be better off and older compared to those mothers who binge drank during pregnancy.

Macleod added: “Moderate alcohol intake was a marker for social advantage, which may itself be the key factor in better balance, possibly overriding subtle harmful effects of moderate alcohol use”.

Alcohol intake and especially abuse while pregnant can cause foetal alcohol syndrome, which leaves children with low IQ and low birth weight which leads to severe learning and even addiction problems in later life.

The Department of Health continues to recommend that expectant mothers abstain from alcohol as the studies into the effects of alcohol on foetuses is still unclear.

One Response to “A glass of wine a day while pregnant may ‘help baby development’”

  1. Alec says:

    Where in the published report does it say that ‘a glass of wine a day while pregnant may help baby development?’ All it states is that low level alcohol consumption has no adverse effect on balance. That’s not to say it doesn’t have adverse effects on other measures of infant development such as IQ. Stating that children did better if their mothers drank while pregnant is also misleading since the authors state this was probably due to chance and was “most likely a reflection of residual confounding by factors related to social position.” The title of this article is a deliberately misleading attempt to suggest alcohol is good for babies.

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