Low And Moderate Drinking During Pregnancy Is Safe, Says Researchers
An international team of researchers have found that low and moderate weekly alcohol consumption in early pregnancy is safe and it does not have adverse neuropsychological effects in children.

Low to moderate consumption of alcohol in early pregnancy is safe, suggested five studies on the subject by the Danish researchers.

The five papers were published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG).

According to the researchers, low and moderate weekly alcohol consumption in early pregnancy is safe and it does not have adverse neuropsychological effects in children aged five years.

However, researchers also found that high levels of alcohol intake have a drastic effect on the child's IQ.

Low average weekly alcohol consumption was defined as 1-4 drinks per week, moderate as 5-8 drinks per week and high levels as 9 or more drinks per week.

Binge drinking was defined as intake of 5 or more drinks on a single occasion.

The study was conducted on 1,628 women who were recruited from the Danish National Birth Cohort at their first antenatal visit.

During the study, researchers asked the participants about their drinking habits, during the pregnancy.

Following that, the researchers examined the effects of alcohol on IQ, attention span, executive functions such as planning, organisation and self-control in five year old children.

"High prenatal exposure to alcohol has consistently been associated with adverse effects on neurodevelopment. Areas such as intelligence, attention and executive functions have been found to be particularly vulnerable. However, less is known about the effects of low to moderate, weekly average consumption levels and binge drinking," British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology quoted Ulrik Schiøler Kesmodel, researcher at the Aarhus University as saying.

Earlier, researchers believed that consuming alcohol during pregnancy has an adverse psychological effect on the child, but now researchers have found that consuming less alcohol in early pregnancy is safe.

However, scientists maintained that further research would be required to look at long term effects of alcohol consumption on children.

"Our findings show that low to moderate drinking is not associated with adverse effects on the children aged five. However, despite these findings, additional large scale studies should be undertaken to further investigate the possible effects," Kesmodel concluded.