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New IQ research prompts warning over drinking alcohol during pregnancy

(210 Posts)
FirstTimeForEverything Thu 15-Nov-12 09:47:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CinnabarRed Thu 15-Nov-12 17:23:59

Reminds me of a conversation I had with a colleague when pregnant with DS1. We were on a boozy work night out.

Colleague: Go on, just one glass of wine
Me: I'm alright thanks [had already had a small glass of champagne before dinner]
Colleague: The white goes really well with this <<points fork at plate>>
Me: I'm sure it does! But I've had enough.
Colleague: Because you're pregnant?
Me: Yup
Colleague: Honestly, it's all exaggerated. My best friend, she drank half a bottle of wine every day when she was pregnant and she was fine.
Me: Really? That's a lot. No ill effects for the baby at all?
Colleague: Well, to be fair the baby was premature and underweight. But my friend was fine. Go on, one more won't hurt...

AmberSocks Thu 15-Nov-12 17:24:44

having said that,you can take it to extremes,a womanin subway refused to sell me a coffee when i was 9 months pregnant with dc2.

sleepyhead Thu 15-Nov-12 17:24:55

If that makes you feel better about the risky state of affairs that is pregnancy then that's a good plan for you.

MrsHuxtable Thu 15-Nov-12 17:31:55

My theory is that woman who don't drink at all in pregnancy generally have a higher IQ to begin with so their offspring do to.

Or did all mothers who took part in the study have the same IQ?

TheCountessOlenska Thu 15-Nov-12 17:32:39

Gosh AmberSocks I think I would get really depressed if I saw myself as nothing but a baby incubator for 9 months!

Each to their own but I'm sticking to my rules of everything in moderation grin

prettybird Thu 15-Nov-12 17:38:07

I am still comfortable with my decision to reduce the quantity and up the quality of the wine that I drank while pregnant with ds - having abstained completely weeks 4 to 10. I did this with the complete agreement of my GP.

Nothing I have read since (including this research) has convinced me that, on balance, I put ds at risk. As my best friend (herself a GP and mother of 4) said: a happy mum is just as important to the health of the baby.

By "reduced quantity" I mean one medium glass (probably 1.5 units), three times a week at most.

The range for "moderate" drinking in this research seems to be way beyond what most people would consider moderate - and even then the result is questionable at best (with even the researchers saying it warranted more investigation) - and with an effect that is not only barely statistically significant for a small number who have this apparent susceptible gene confused

BeyondTheLimitsOfAcceptability Thu 15-Nov-12 17:45:11

MrsHux, my IQ is mensa level, and I drank (only a little, but still did nonetheless) in pregnancy. So I disagree with your theory.

prettybird Thu 15-Nov-12 17:53:25

hmm Not sure about that theory MrsH. The (few) people I know who abstained totally had lower IQs than me. I was one of the top 6 in my school, who all got 6As at Higher (most schools only allow you to sit 5). They all went off to medical or vet school but I wanted to study languages so went off to a different Uni. I'm presuming my GP best friend must have a reasonable IQ wink (I only met her at Uni) - she had the odd calming drink grin

sleepyhead Thu 15-Nov-12 17:54:20

I think the study actually says that the abstainers in their group actually had lower IQ than the drinkers.

LeBFG Thu 15-Nov-12 17:55:32

I'm with you guys about the message of relax and a few glasses a week in the scheme of things etc etc.

But I do get a bit annoyed when people trash research they don't like. This paper showed a strongly significant effect. The difference was small but very real. The drinkers' ages were 29.7 +/-4.4 and abstainers' ages were 28.4 +/-4.5 - so really very close.

BraaaaaainsButterfield Thu 15-Nov-12 18:14:28

It is annoying when people pull research to bits. Honestly, all the things people bring up are considered when designing the study. It's hard work, you know! They don't just print off a couple of hundred questionnaires and leave it at that.

WhereYouLeftIt Thu 15-Nov-12 18:16:10

Hmm. I've always been dubious about the accuracy of IQ tests, having sat a few of them myself. Things I can remember of them :
. Pick the synonym of this word from this list of four - favpurs people with a wide vocabulary.
. Which of these four diagrams is the mirror image of this one - favours those with good spatial awareness.

In short, I don't believe they measure intelligence. I'm not sure intelligence CAN be measured objectively. So a 1.8 points 'difference'? Meh.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Thu 15-Nov-12 18:17:49

So is a drinking mother who then does not breastfeed going to have a really dim baby then.....

WhereYouLeftIt Thu 15-Nov-12 18:19:32

"It is annoying when people pull research to bits. Honestly, all the things people bring up are considered when designing the study."
Well at uni I was told that I SHOULD pull research to bits, on the basis that it is of variable quality. Researchers are as human as the rest of us, they make mistakes, cling to preconceptions and are biased. And are sometimes funded by organisations with an agenda.

sleepyhead Thu 15-Nov-12 18:20:47

Researchers expect their research to be pulled to bits. They (should) write their papers so that it's clear what they have considered and what they haven't.

There are a lot of poorly written papers (I don't think this is one btw) which don't do justice to the research, or which over or underestimate its significance.

Press offices which release details of studies like this to the general media do so to raise the profile of their institutions and research and it's A Good Thing for the public to have access to the research behind the headlines - they did publish it in an open access journal after all.

LineRunner Thu 15-Nov-12 18:21:12

Another 'meh'. And I'm a sciencey person.

BrianButterfield Thu 15-Nov-12 18:29:35

Yes, of course they expect it to be pulled to bits by other researchers who have read the whole paper. Not people online who have read a very paraphrased article.

WhereYouLeftIt Thu 15-Nov-12 18:35:23

Sderiously Brian, you think only other researchers are qualified to assess research hmm? You don't think that might be a bit patronising and an example of why non-researchers take researchers with a pinch of salt ?

LineRunner Thu 15-Nov-12 18:37:19

For all you know Brian I might be a world expert in a related field. <taps side of nose>

sleepyhead Thu 15-Nov-12 18:38:58

Well, two people have linked to the full text of the article so I suspect quite a few people commenting on here have read the whole paper hmm.

You're right though, you can't really comment on the research from a press release which has been paraphrased by a journalist. Which is why it's so annoying that newspapers like the Guardian persist in being too lazy to link to the original research, especially when its freely available like this particular paper.

snowmummy Thu 15-Nov-12 18:46:45

I can't comment on the research or its validity but given that there is and always has been discussion about the effects of alcohol on unborn babies then my opinion is that it is a risk not worth taking. I can manage nine months without a drink and the risk, however small or however unproven, is just not worth it for me.

TurquoiseTranquility Thu 15-Nov-12 19:08:40

I don't mean to upset anyone, but I always thought the NHS guidelines on drinking in pregnancy were far too liberal. I suppose the logic (at least partially) was that they didn't want to alienate the "naughtier" among their patients so had to embrace it somehow. I was dumbstruck to find out my current MW advises that alcohol is "best avoided at all costs" but if you MUST drink don't exceed 1-2 units per week and only from 2nd trimester onwards. All advice I heard during my previous pregnancy was that drinking is perfectly fine, so long as you don't get pissed. They've certainly revised their guidelines.

That said, this may be the start of a political anti-drinking campaign, BUT I still think the less the better. After all, different people have different levels of the alcohol-dehydrogenase enzymes, i.e. a different capacity to break down alcohol befor it poisons you, AND these levels change throughout your life, so however brilliant you may think your body is with alcohol you never know when your liver's had enough. TBH there's more to life than drinking wink and chocolate/desserts are as good at reducing stress, IMHO grin

off to bake an apple pie wink

LeBFG Thu 15-Nov-12 19:10:39

The problem is people are apparently 'pulling apart' this article when in actual fact it's really very good.

There is always the problem with IQ tests - but how else do you measure cognitive ability and compare it?

redyellowgreen Thu 15-Nov-12 19:14:43

If people focused more on more important health issues during pregnancy (keeping active, being a healthy weight,not living off crap and not smoking) and then on increasing breastfeeding rates, we'd have much healthier children than crucifying mums who dare to have a glass or two of wine whilst pregnant...

redyellowgreen Thu 15-Nov-12 19:17:05

Oh and add to the no drinking message the 'no getting in a car', 'no crossing the road', and 'no using sharp instruments whilst cooking' message. Think they all pose a greater risk to my baby's health than a few sips of wine every now and again....

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