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Study: Children of Women Who Drink During Pregnancy Behave Better

(Kendra K/Flickr Creative Commons)

(Kendra K/Flickr Creative Commons)

A Danish study of pregnant women found that those who drink alcohol occasionally during pregnancy have children who are better adjusted and better behaved then the offspring of teetotaling moms.

The University of Copenhagen study, led by psychologist Janni Niclasen, analyzed the drinking habits of more than 100,000 pregnant Danish women.

“My study shows, among other things, that the children of mothers who drank small quantities of alcohol… during their pregnancies show significantly better emotional and behavioral outcomes at age 7 compared to children of mothers who did not drink at all,” Niclasen wrote.

“At first sight, this makes no sense, since alcohol during pregnancy is not seen as beneficial to child behavior. But when you look at the lifestyle of the mothers, you find an explanation. Mothers who drank 90 units or more of alcohol turn out to be the most well-educated and healthiest lifestyle overall.”

Nicalsen only studied mothers who drank small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy, not heavier drinkers.

“It is important to emphasize that this is not an invitation to pregnant women to drink alcohol,” she cautioned. She also warned against misinterpretation of her study’s results.

“It is already difficult to control for all the lifestyle factors as it is, and when, on top of that, information is lacking about psychological variables like for instance attachment and intelligence, you need to be careful when interpreting the results.”

While studies have shown that drinking a daily glass of wine during pregnancy will not harm babies, and may actually be good for a child’s development, many medical experts still caution against any drinking while pregnant.

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