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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an I...

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Larry Fink, the boss of fund manager BlackRock , is among those sounding the alarm  

Not all discounts are welcome: Beware the myopia of company bosses

Ben Chu
Cilla Black lived her life in front of the lens, whether on television or her earlier pop career  

Cilla Black dead: A sad farewell to the singer who gave us a 'lorra, lorra laughs'

Gerard Gilbert
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen