Is it OK to have an occasional glass of wine when you’re pregnant? Ask this question and you’ll get a different answer from scientists—and some doctors—nearly every week. But a new survey of more than 10,000 children in the UK suggests that light drinking—no more than two drinks per week—during pregnancy does not affect a baby’s cognitive development. A large sample of 7-year-olds were given tests that evaluated their cognitive, social and behavioral skills, while mothers reported their drinking activity while pregnant. The children whose mothers drank lightly scored slightly higher or performed about the same on the various tests as the children whose mothers abstained.
The results line up with the recommendations of the U.K. Department of Health, which are slightly more permissive on the question of alcohol than U.S. experts. Still, noted the editor-in-chief of BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, where the study was published, “It remains unclear as to what level of alcohol consumption may have adverse outcomes, so this should not alter current advice and if women are worried about consumption levels the safest option would be to abstain from drinking during pregnancy.”
While opinions tend to vary on what pregnant women can drink, doctors both here and abroad agree on many aspects of what they should eat. Find out what nutrients are essential to a healthy pregnancy.