New research in Australia suggests that pregnant women who partake in one glass of wine a day in their first trimester may have better behaved children than those who abstain from alcohol or drink heavily. The study looked at 2300 mothers and found that pregnant women who drank light to moderate amounts of alcohol had babies with fewer emotional and behavioural difficulties. "Moderate consumption" was considered to be one alcoholic drink a day.
While national guidelines there recommend that expectant mothers abstain from alcohol completely, the study found that light drinking during pregnancy was not associated with increased risk for the child. The research followed children from the womb to their early teenage years.
Almost 60 percent of expectant mothers had not drunk during pregnancy, but 3 percent threw back between seven and 10 drinks and 2 percent consumed 11 alcoholic drinks each week. About 20 percent admitted to an occasional tipple of up to one drink a week and 15 percent had consumed two to six drinks a week.
Researchers concluded after recurrent study every couple of years that mothers who didn't drink during their first trimester had trouble getting their children to behave. Children of light drinkers early in pregnancy had a "clinically meaningful" lower risk of becoming depressed or reacting aggressively than the children of non-drinkers. Thirteen percent of children who were born to mothers who drunk heavily had aggression problems and 10 percent had depression.
Personally, I think that the research would need to look into other aspects of the childhood's upbringing which may provide a more realistic reason for why children misbehave or their parents struggle to control their behaviour. Whether this be economic, social or emotional reasons it's hard to know. But I doubt that knocking back a glass of wine each night is going to result in a perfectly behaved child without a lot of influence from the child's whanau.
Even with this research, there is a consensus among health professionals that the only recognisable "safe" level of drinking during pregnancy is nil.
What do you think of the research results?