Let’s start pre-gaming ladies, it’s the weekend and it’s $2 drinks ALL NIGHT LONG!
Studies have shown that heavy drinking causes birth defects. Niclasen was curious about how maternal drinking affected the mental health of their offspring.
“We know that drinking heavily is really, really bad for the fetus, but we are not so certain whether or not drinking a glass of wine is OK,” she says.
Niclasen looked at data from the Danish National Birth Cohort, which surveyed 37,000 women between 1996 to 2002. The women answered questions three different times and when their children were 7 years old, the kids took a questionnaire that assessed their emotions and relationships.
What Niclasen found surprised her: Children with mothers who drank moderately — about 90 units throughout pregnancy, which works out to about two drinks a week — experienced better mental health than children whose mothers completely abstained from drinking.
“The abstainers did the poorest in all outcomes. They were the poorest educated, smoked the most, did not exercise, and watched a lot of TV,” she says.
The moms who drank moderately did everything else right, in general; they exercised regularly, ate better, did not watch a lot of TV, had healthy BMIs, and were better educated. While these lifestyle factors have a huge impact on mental health, Niclasen found that when she controlled for them, mom’s alcohol consumption still had small influence on the children’s mental health.
Is There Evidence Drinking While Pregnant Is Bad?
There is little evidence having the occasional drink while pregnant does any harm to a baby, a review has concluded. Only last year, official government advice was updated to recommend pregnant women abstain totally from alcohol.
It said: ‘Drinking in pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to the baby, with the more you drink, the greater the risk.’
There is little evidence having the occasional drink while pregnant does any harm to a baby, a review has concluded. But critics have warned this advice is unduly worrying to women, especially those who drink before they discover they are pregnant.
Bristol University researchers found ‘surprisingly limited’ evidence that drinking up to four units a week – equivalent to two glasses of wine – leads to birth defects, developmental delay or behavioural problems.
Researchers examined 26 previous studies on the effects of light drinking, defined as up to four units a week, or about two glasses of wine, compared with no alcohol, during pregnancy.
The study, published in the journal BMJ Open, found an 8 per cent higher risk of smaller babies among women who drank four units a week – insufficient for a ‘robust conclusion’.
The researchers stressed this does not mean alcohol is safe – and they recommended pregnant women abstain in case.
But David Spiegelhalter, professor for the public understanding of risk at the University of Cambridge, said: ‘A precautionary approach is still reasonable, but with luck this should dispel any guilt and anxiety felt by women who have an occasional glass of wine while pregnant.’
A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘It is important to remember the purpose of these guidelines – they are low-risk guidelines.
‘As the evidence is uncertain, the lowest risk approach is to avoid alcohol.