Moderate drinking while pregnant may lower baby's IQ

November 16, 2012, 10:39 amYahoo!7

A new study suggests that moderate drinking during pregnancy may affect a baby's intelligence.

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New research suggests that pregnant women who drink just one or two glasses of wine a week may affect their child's IQ.

The study, conducted by Oxford University's National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, looked at the effects of moderate drinking during pregnancy.

The effects of alcohol on unborn babies has historically been difficult to quantify due to the difficulty in discounting the impact of other factors, like nutrition, smoking, and genetics.

Lead researcher Dr Ron Gray said that although it was a complex study, the message was simple.

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"Even moderate amounts of alcohol during pregnancy can have an effect on future child intelligence. So women have good reason to choose to avoid alcohol when pregnant."

The study used genetic variation, in theory ruling out interference from other factors, to gauge the effects of drinking in over 4000 women.

The women filled out questionnaires about their alcohol intake at weeks 18 and 32 of their pregnancy, while their child's IQ was tested at age eight.

According to the study, moderate drinking was found to be related to a lower IQ score of up to two points.

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Heavy drinking has been shown to sometimes result in a child suffering from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), which can cause problems ranging from heart defects to intellectual disability.

The exact number of children with FASD in Australia is unknown, due to difficulties in conclusively diagnosing the condition.

Guidelines published by the Australian government advise pregnant and breastfeeding women to drink no alcohol at all.


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