I was scared into not drinking during pregnancy. So you can be too

A new survey might be the final word in the matter - babies and booze don't mix

Share
Related Topics

If you’re confused by surveys saying you must never drink in pregnancy, surveys saying you can safely knock back the odd glass of red, and surveys saying that foetal alcohol syndrome is a fun game for all the family – wait, what – anyway. The good news is that they’ve brought out another survey, and this one claims it’s definitive. This survey, conducted by medics from the University of Bristol’s “Children of the 90s” project, says that even moderate drinking lowers a child’s IQ. (They waited until the babies turned eight to be really sure about it.)

By moderate, they really do mean moderate: between one and six drinks per week. I mean that’s not as moderate as a pregnant woman who finally downs one small glass of champagne because it’s New Year’s Eve and everyone around her is enmeshed in naked Twister, but nor is it a preggo who necks two pints of beer in one sitting, whom the surveyors would have classed as – gasp! – a “binge drinker”, and promptly disqualified.

Moderate drinking, according to the genetic data collected by these scientists, lowers a child’s future IQ, regardless of other factors such as social class. The children of mothers who abstained did not experience the same variants in their intelligence ratings. Only those who drank – even once a week.

As a Brit who spent most of her pregnancy in Los Angeles, with a Beverly Hills gynaecologist who thought drink was some sort of European fetish, I admit I was scared into abstinence. Looking back, I’m not sure why I fell for it, as this gynae was pretty unconvinced by my hunger too. (“You do NOT need extra food just because you’re pregnant!” she said menacingly.) I came home to have the baby, who was then so overdue that I did have a glass of wine on a few occasions. And how I laughed with my London mates about the silly LA people and their fussiness, as we drank that wine and chomped our way through cakes.

But it isn’t a good idea to drink when you’re pregnant. It just isn’t. The NHS have a reasonably relaxed attitude to the occasional wee dram, but the idea that you can have a wine or a beer every night with no effect on the foetus has always seemed a bit nuts. And now it’s been proven. So I must reluctantly thank that LA woman for scaring me into behaving myself while up the duff, and boringly encourage my friends to put the Shiraz on hold until they are, erm, breastfeeding.

Don’t fret over Pret

Still, if you’re not pregnant or awaiting heart surgery, you don’t need to abstain from anything, which proves three of my closest friends are just plain mental. This trio of food fetishists are counting down the days until December, when they can eat some Pret a Manger Christmas sandwich special thing.

Day in, day out, on a group email that is now a hundred years long, my chums salivate over this future sandwich, longing for it like the first cuckoo of spring. Annoyingly, it’s already in the shops, but Rachel and Courtney have strict rules about it Not Being Christmas Yet.

As I write, Matt has gone rogue, broken down the fourth wall and eaten one. I pray the others will soon realise there is no joy in waiting, and follow suit, or I shall be forced to wedge these deranged friends between two slabs of bread with a soggy blob of cranberry sauce and eat them.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service and Business Support Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: By developing intimate relationships with inte...

Recruitment Genius: Application Support Engineer - Software

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A small rapidly expanding IT So...

The Grange Retirement Home: Full Time Care Team Manager

£22,400: The Grange Retirement Home: This is a key role which requires a sound...

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Punks show off the Doctor Marten boots as they gather in Blackpool for the annual Rebellion Punk Rock Festival  

Recalling my act of punk rebellion at school shows how different attitudes are today

Rosie Millard
A hormone released when someone is under stress or pressure has been found in breast milk  

Shaming women for being unable to breastfeed is wrong, and it needs to stop

Siobhan Freegard
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada