ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) — A new study indicates that pregnant women who engage in light drinking while gestating will not do harm to their unborn child.
Researchers at the University College in London polled 11,000 mothers to reach the conclusion that one glass of wine or just less than one pint of beer per week would not damage the fetus or cause unwanted birth defects, according to Parent Dish.
Those involved with the several years-long study reportedly began by surveying the participating women – all of whom were parents to 9-month-old children at the time – about their drinking habits during their pregnancy.
Researchers subsequently followed up with the families when the children had turned 7, and performed tests on the kids that tested their math, reading and spatial skills, as well as emotional and social behaviors.
Results showed that, at least up to that point in their lives, the children whose mothers drank minimally during pregnancy did not show negative effects from the habits.
In fact, some children of mothers who occasionally imbibed allegedly scored better on math and behavioral tests than the children of mothers who abstained entirely from alcohol consumption.
“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,” lead researcher Yvonne Kelly was quoted as saying by the parenting website.
She added, “While we have followed these children for the first seven years of their lives, further research is needed to detect whether any adverse effects of low levels of alcohol consumption in pregnancy emerge later in childhood.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta recommend abstaining from alcohol during pregnancy all the same.
“When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, so does her unborn baby. Alcohol in the mother’s blood passes through the placenta to the baby through the umbilical cord,” the CDC website notes. “Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and a range of lifelong disorders, known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.”
Several defects attributed to FASD, according to the CDC, include abnormal facial features, low IQ and vision or hearing issues.
The study was published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Parent Dish learned.