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Drinking small amounts of alcohol in pregnancy not harmful to baby

Study shoes that mums who are light to moderate drinkers even have children with a lower risk of mild psychological problems

Posted: 10 June 2010
by Kimberley Smith
An occasional glass of wine may lead to calmer chidlren

A 14-year study has suggested that children born to mums who drank between 2 and 6 units of alcohol a week during pregnancy are less likely to suffer from depression or act aggressively.

The behaviour of 2,370 children was analysed every 2-3 years between the ages of 2 and 14. Results showed children of light to moderate drinkers were less likely to externalize or internalize negative emotions.

However, researchers have hinted at other explanations rather than actual alcohol for the results. Moderate drinkers tend to be mentally healthier than both abstainers and addicts and low doses of alcohol may have helped calm mums-to-be leading them to produce calmer children.

The news will reassure women who continued to drink before they realised they were pregnant. “Women may be drinking alcohol in small amounts prior to recognition of the pregnancy,” said researcher Dr Monique Robinson. “We feel these data highlight that it is unlikely that this has harmed their unborn child’s mental health,” she reassured.

Don’t pop the cork just yet though! Drinking high volumes of alcohol in pregnancy has well-documented medical implications for your baby beyond his future behavior.  Find out more about alcohol in pregnancy and NHS guidelines here. If you are still concerned speak to your midwife or GP about your options.

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