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Study: Moderate Drinking in Pregnancy May Affect Child's IQ

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Think it's OK to indulge in the occasional glass of wine while pregnant? You might want to put down that bottle.

A new study being hailed as "hugely important" by at least one expert concludes that women who drink even moderate amounts of alcohol while pregnant may risk lowering child's intelligence levels.

Researchers using genetic analysis of more than 4,000 mothers and children found that drinking between one and six alcoholic drinks a week during pregnancy can lead to lower Intelligence Quotient (IQ) scores by the time a child is eight.

"Even at levels of alcohol consumption which are normally considered to be harmless, we can detect differences in childhood IQ which are dependent on the ability of the fetus to clear this alcohol," Sarah Lewis of Bristol University, who led the study, told Reuters

"This is evidence that even at these moderate levels, alcohol is influencing fetal brain development."

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This study, published in the journal PLOS ONE this week, used a new technique analyzing the genetic variants which modify the effects of alcohol exposure levels.

There is plenty of contradictory advice on drinking while pregnant. One report realeased just a few months ago by Danish researchers concluded that up to eight drinks a week while pregnant is probably OK. 

And yet we've also been cautioned by the Centers for Disease Control that there is no safe amount of alcohol to consume while pregnant. 

That certainly isn't stopping anyone from indulging. One recent CDC study of more than 14,000 women found that one in 13 pregnant women admitted to drinking during their pregnancies. 

Among those who drank, nearly one in five women (1.4 percent of the total women surveyed) said that they had at least one binge drinking experience, consuming four or more drinks at one time during pregnancy.

Did you toast to your pregnancy by knocking back the occasional drink? Or were you a teetotaler? Let us know in the comments

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