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Drink or Two a Week While Pregnant Might Not Harm Baby: Study
Date:10/6/2010

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Oct. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Having one to two drinks a week during pregnancy may not actually harm a developing fetus, new research suggests.

Researchers following children up to the age of 5 did not see any increased risk of behavioral or cognitive problems in those whose mothers classified themselves as "light drinkers" compared to mothers who were teetotalers during their pregnancy.

However, although the findings may be "reassuring for those who have taken a few drinks during early pregnancy, I would not use this as a green light to drink during pregnancy," cautioned Dr. Richard Jones, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and director of obstetrics at Scott & White in Temple. "We know that heavy drinking causes problems in pregnancy."

"The March of Dimes has not changed its recommendations of no alcohol during pregnancy, and my personal view is absolutely consonant with that," added Dr. Michael Katz, senior vice president for research and global programs at the March of Dimes Foundation. "I can only see ill consequences as the result of [drinking alcohol during pregnancy]. There are no precise measures [of alcohol intake]. It's a ridiculous argument. There is no logical reason why anyone could not stay away from alcohol for nine months."

Heavy drinking is known to cause birth defects in newborns.

"We really don't know if there is a safe level of alcohol consumption. Fetal alcohol syndrome has been described in mothers who had a single episode of binge drinking," added Dr. Ron Jaekle, a professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at University of Cincinnati Health. "I'm not aware that being a non-drinker for nine months out of your life is going to cause a major health problem."

The researchers, from University College London, in London, and publishing online Oct.
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