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Light drinking during pregnancy may not harm children

Red Wine

Whether or not it is safe to drink during pregnancy is a highly debated issue – with some research showing that drinking during pregnancy can cause physical or mental birth defects. But a new study, published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, shows that light drinking during pregnancy does not cause any adverse behavioral or cognitive outcomes in children, Science World Report said.

The study – the first to focus on low-level consumption of alcohol during pregnancy and its effect on children - followed 10,534 infants born between 2000 and 2002 in the U.K. Researchers examined whether light drinking during pregnancy caused any unfavorable outcomes in the children by age seven, according to Science World Report.

Researchers from University College London collected data based on home visit interviews and questionnaires that were completed by parents and teachers, who could easily identify the social and emotional behavior in kids.  They also tested the kids' cognitive performance in math, reading and spatial skills, Science World report noted.

Researchers examined four groups: mothers who had never consumed alcohol, mothers who didn’t drink during pregnancy, mothers who drank lightly during pregnancy and mothers who drank more during pregnancy.

Children born to light drinkers had lower behavioral difficulties compared to those born to mothers who didn't drink during pregnancy.

Professor Yvonne Kelly, co-author of the study, and co-director, ESRC International Centre for Lifecourse Studies (ICLS) at University College London, said in a press statement, "There appears to be no increased risk of negative impacts of light drinking in pregnancy on behavioral or cognitive development in 7-year-old children. We need to understand more about how children's environments influence their behavioral and intellectual development."

Click for more from Science World Report.