Light drinking during pregnancy is safe & has benefits

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If the thought of abstaining from alcohol for the entire length of pregnancy sounds like a daunting task, moms-to-be can breathe a slight sigh of relief, as a new study from the Journal of Epidemiological and Community Health suggests that having one or two drinks weekly may be safe during pregnancy. After analyzing about 11,000 children born from 2000 to 2002, researchers found that five-year-old children born to mothers who were light drinkers achieved higher cognitive scores and were also 30 percent less likely to experience behavioral problems compared to children whose mothers didn’t drink during pregnancy.

ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan is happy to note that the new research seems to be a switch from the zero tolerance alcohol policy that many caregivers, friends and relatives prescribe for pregnant women.

“We have said in the past that the dogma of avoiding all alcohol while pregnant was based on very little — if any — science, and this study seems to support that,” adds ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. “We noted similar findings in an Australian study in June of this year. The current one adds to the literature debunking the ‘zero tolerance’ theory.'”