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Just A Few Drinks In Pregnancy Could Harm Baby


New Member
Nov 10, 2004
Mothers who drink even low levels of alcohol during pregnancy could permanently damage their children's intelligence, research suggests.

The study of seven-and-a-half-year-olds by scientists in Detroit found lower IQ scores, and memory and problem-solving difficulties among those who had had low-level exposure to alcohol during pregnancy.

The research, which the Department of Health says it wants to consider, appears to challenge current British Government advice that pregnant women can safely consume one to two units of alcohol a week.

It has long been established that serious problems such as severe learning difficulties and physical abnormalities can occur when women drink large amounts of alcohol during pregnancy, leading to foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).

Now American scientists say more research is needed to look at the damage caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol at lower levels.

Julie Croxford, from Wayne State University in Detroit, said: "In the past, much focus was placed on studying full-blown FAS. More recent research has considered those individuals damaged by lower levels of exposure. This is an important focus."

The study, published in the journal, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, looked at 337 African-American children who were exposed to moderate to heavy levels of alcohol in the womb.

It found they were able to perform memory, number and other tasks as well as other youngsters when these tasks were simple, such as naming colours.

But when the children were pressed to respond quickly while having to think about the response, their processing speed slowed down significantly.

Researcher Matthew Burden, from Wayne State University, said: "Prenatal alcohol exposure is often associated with slower reaction times and poorer attention in infancy and some of these deficits may be at the core of poorer academic performance and behaviour problems often seen later in childhood.