Better Behaved Kids?

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy has long been a no-no, but a large-scale Danish study found that light drinking during gestation may result in better behaved kids.

Woman and wine

There are so many potential factors that come into play when you talk about child development, from the prenatal environment to health factors to parenting to home life. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is certainly one of those factors and it gets plenty of scrutiny — too much of it during fetal development can have severe repercussions on a child and can result in massive birth defects. However, researchers in Denmark recently gathered data on drinking habits during pregnancy and a child’s emotional development and behavior patterns, concluding that light drinking during pregnancy can result in better behaved kids.

The study

Through a series of telephone interviews, Janni Niclasen, psychologist at the University of Cophenhagen, Denmark, and a group of researchers gathered data from approximately 37,000 women on a number of subjects, including their health, alcohol consumption, smoking habits, medicine intake, and other lifestyle factors, including socioeconomic status. They conducted three separate interviews, the last a series of questions on their child’s potential emotional problems, peer problems, hyperactivity/inattention, conduct disorder, and pro-social behavior.

When the data was crunched, they found that children of mothers who drank 90-units or more (equivalent to 10 bottles of 12 percent white wine) during pregnancy had children who were the most well-adjusted in both emotional development and behavior.

What’s the cause?

Further investigating the data, they realized that the mothers who drank that amount of wine during pregnancy tended to be the most educated and had very healthy lifestyles. The findings did not indicate, however, the level of attachment between the mothers and their children, which is an important factor in a child’s emotional development.

The researchers state that this is, of course, not an open invitation to drink wine during pregnancy. There isn’t enough information to clearly know how much is too much, and that’s not a risk you should take.

More on pregnancy and alcohol

Worth the risk? Early drinking may not harm your baby
Alcohol free drinks for pregnancy and breastfeeding
Can you buy a pregnancy test in the bathroom?

Tags: alcohol during pregnancy


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