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Study says low to moderate drinking during pregnancy has no effect on children's brain development


NEW YORK — A new study conducted by Denmark researchers revealed that low to moderate alcohol consumption during the early stages of pregnancy may not be as dangerous as previously thought.

According to findings published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers analyzed data from more than 1,600 women in the Danish National Birth Cohort. The amount of alcohol consumed by the women during their pregnancy was classified as either none, low (one to four drinks per week), moderate (five to eight drinks per week) or high (nine or more drinks per week). Binge drinking was defined as having five or more drinks on a single occasion. Children born to these women were assessed — IQ, attention span and thinking skills — at 5 years old. Overall, low to moderate weekly drinking during pregnancy, as well as binge drinking, had no significant effect on the children's brain development, the team reported. The researchers did find, however, a link between high levels of drinking during pregnancy and lower attention spans in children at age 5.

Despite the findings, experts who reviewed the research said it shouldn't change standard recommendations made by doctors.

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