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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Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LeBFG Sun 18-Nov-12 06:53:16

It's not one gene - there are more than 4 in this report. Only a small number of women have 4 or more. But many more have one/some susceptibility genes.

confuddledDOTcom Sun 18-Nov-12 01:47:46

They've not said it's uniformly the case because it's not, it's the small amount of women who have this gene. They can't even tell us how much this small amount of women drank because they self reported and they counted drinks not units.

As far as IQ goes, at 9 I went to college with Mum when I wasn't well and took an IQ test with the rest of the class, I came 3rd in the class after Mum and my aunt. I passed the Mensa test at 12 but my parents couldn't afford the fees, I'm not an academic though. I enjoy researching stuff for my own interest but in a classroom environment I don't do too well. I had a friend from nursery who I've been friends with all through school and am still friends now. She's not got a high IQ, she doesn't naturally find learning easy but she's a grafter. I got rubbish GCSE results and hers were brilliant. She went on to eventually go to university, get a really good degree and a well paid/ high powered job. I passed a 1 month course to get a uni place, but my IQ didn't help me out, I was glad when I had a miscarriage part way through the first year and had to pull out (not glad to miscarry you understand).

spotsdots Sat 17-Nov-12 21:54:44

I stopped long time ago believing such "study reports" because they always come up with contradictory results. I mean today they will report alcohol is bad, tomorrow they will report it is good in moderation. Then sugar is good sugar is bad, coffee good coffee bad.. the list is endless.

I say use your common sense grin

I've never tested alcohol even when supposedly the "study showed a glass of wine" is good, but still I don't believe my dc's cleverness is due to the fact that I didn't drink when pregnant.

mellen Sat 17-Nov-12 21:32:50

conors - I dont think that this study is saying that all children with mothers who drank during pregnancy will be less intelligent than all children whose mothers didnt, or who drank very little, it is just saying that there is an association between alcohol and lower IQ. Same as breastfeeding - a difference exists at a population level, but not uniformly the case in individual children.

conorsrockers Sat 17-Nov-12 21:06:09

I do enjoy a drink, but hardly drank with my first two pregnancies, however - the third was slightly different!! I never drank too much, just more than the other two and DS3 is a pint sized genius. So that 'scientific proof' counts for nothing in our house!!!

Yellowtip Sat 17-Nov-12 20:50:25

On the whole the most intelligent kids achieve the most A* at GCSE, that's hardly a surprise. Presumably the most intelligent kids also score the highest on IQ tests too, on the whole (if their parents put them in for such a test - not sure why they would though, it's certainly never crossed my mind and I can't see what purpose it would serve).

redyellowgreen Sat 17-Nov-12 20:02:27

A (hopefully non-controversial) question:

How closely are IQ results linked with actual academic/general success?

I realise that it's the best way of assessing things (particularly when you factor in the myriad of other influences on 'success'), but I've always wondered: if you do well on an IQ test are you considerably more likely to get a million A*s at GCSE (and vice versa)? Or does it mean merely that you have a brain which works in a way favoured by IQ tests?

LeBFG Sat 17-Nov-12 18:45:39

IMO of course one drink every few months isn't going to do any harm. But before this report I would have said the same about one drink a week. I have had to revise my opinion. The risks are still pretty low and so I really don't judge women who want to drink a little. I have chosen not to based on this research.

What the media says on the back of the report is not the fault of the report however, which is a point I think many posters are getting confused about.

Being pg now and following quite a few threads about banned foods etc I question as much as the next man. I feel health professionals get hysterical about pregnancy and issue edicts sometimes with very little factual basis (pate is a good case in point!). I don't think this is to make women feel guilty. I'm all for a balanced, reasoned approach to risk - choosing risks to take or avoid based on real, meaningful facts. I feel the authorties lump all women into one group of thickos who can't be trusted to do this properly on our own - this I loathe.

ViciousAttack Sat 17-Nov-12 17:12:35

I'm not worried about it, I'm confident that I haven't done anything to put my children at risk. What I worry about is the way this study has been aimed at ALL drinking, I worry about lumping women like me in with people who drink 6 drinks a week because it is a totally different ball game.

As someone who has not had a single uncomplicated pregnancy and lost 4 babies, I am all too aware of how "their life is in your hands" "advice" is. How every little decision you make is life and death for your child - according to the advice. When you have a complication or lose a baby you go back through every decision and try to work out which one caused it whilst everyone is telling you "it's not your fault, you didn't do anything wrong"! Personally, I don't buy into the "their life is in your hands" attitude. I break the "rules" and I don't blame myself when things happen. None of my pregnancy issues could have been avoided, they weren't my fault, just how my body works but because of my health and experiences I've met so many women who are beating themselves up (read this thread if you want to meet some) because they did something wrong and is it because of that. The thing is as long as you are sensible and don't drink to this extent, as long as you're not eating loads of X food, as long as you only eat Lion eggs, the risk of any of these is not worth stressing about. My drink every few months is not going to harm my baby, any more than someone giving in to a pate craving occasionally is. In fact not making foods a banned food means you're less likely to miss it. Keeping it in your head that it's an issue is keeping it in your head.

wigglybeezer Sat 17-Nov-12 16:10:20

Mellon, breastfeeding may be the biological norm but it isn't the cultural norm at the moment ( except on Mumsnet). I was being lighthearted but knowing that breast feeding ( when compared to formula feeding) helps IQ by a few points (and yes I know statistics can be manipulated to say just about anything) is helping me not obsess guiltily about the occasional tiny glass of wine I may have drunk when pregnant. I expect there are a few mothers out ther who formula fed and are thinking well at least I didn't drink when I was pregnant. We all have to deal with the guilt of not being perfect somehow!

LeBFG Sat 17-Nov-12 15:44:15

Why are you worried about 3-4.5 units over 9 months? Because it's about your personal situation? I also want to know about the effects of drinking on my baby. I can see they aren't going to be able to stratify necessarily to the level I want to know about. They have to work with the best data set they could find. Remember, these ladies were not asked to keep diaries. From recall (in my last pg) I couldn't tell you an exact averge unit count per week. It varied from none to 3.

ViciousAttack Sat 17-Nov-12 15:28:38

I drink a unit every 2-3 months, usually less often. Yes, I do see a big gap between someone who drinks as much as me and someone who drinks every week. This is the group I have an issue about. No one has ever proven that someone who has had 1-2 units in an entire pregnancy has harmed their baby, but we're lumped in the 1-6 units drinks a week category because we have had a drink.

mellen Sat 17-Nov-12 15:24:50

"Doesn't breast feeding up your child's IQ by more than 1.8? I reckon I'm still ahead."

Breastfeeding is the biological norm. It doesnt 'up' anything.

LeBFG Sat 17-Nov-12 15:20:04

All drinkers in this study were women who drank less than 6 units a week - it includes all women who said they only drunk less than one unit a week at either 18 weeks or 32 weeks. So yes, this is a broad category, sure.

I would suspect most women were low drinkers (<1, 1-2 units a week)...and yet there is still an overall effect.

Is it a big gap between drinking 1 unit a week and nothing?

ViciousAttack Sat 17-Nov-12 15:10:48

Why is there a big gap between people who drink one drink a week to people who drink nothing at all? What about the middle ground? Those who have a drink once every second month or whatever.

LeBFG Sat 17-Nov-12 14:59:32

A blimin psycology reader??!! ffs...<despair>

The paper finds a link between mothers' age/status/educational level and whether they drink or not. This has been found in other papers, it's not new...but the ADH genes are assorted independently of this. Despite this, among women drinkers (whose children have higher IQs) there is a steady drop of IQ points between children with 2 or less risky genes and ones with 4 or more.

The drop is 3.5.

THis is in women who are drinking less than one unit a day.

That is not a lot of alcohol (unless you're part of the group who think 1 drink a week is a lot).

If you don't drink, there is no drop in IQ (look at table 3).


Someone better explain that to Robbie. (Funny how taco found Robbie's comment interesting and hasn't found anything to criticise.)

slipshodsibyl Sat 17-Nov-12 11:08:52

Research does not show that moderate drinking in pregnancy harms children’s IQ

The research you link to above was carried out by a readyer in psycology at the University of Kent. This study was carried out by scientists from Bristol and Oxford and is the first to study genetics and to try to exclude social and other factors. I think there is little doubt that it is probably the most informative research we have yet.

I drank a little during pregnancies with no obvious ill effect but I wouldn't now.

slipshodsibyl Sat 17-Nov-12 11:01:44

But wasn't it 1.8 per genetic variant? And there were 4 possible genetic variants. So couldn't the difference then be 1.8 x 4?

willowthecat Sat 17-Nov-12 10:51:35

westcoastwinnie - I don't mean this about you as you know about your son's birth mother but I've noticed that it's common for adoptive parents in the US to say that their adopted child is FAS even when the information about the birth mother's alcohol intake is not available (there was a ridiculous case in the New Scientist a few years ago about a mom who 'realised' her adopted daughter was FAS when she was not being invited to the popular girls' parties at school !) . I agree that limiting alcohol intake in pregnancy is a good idea although I doubt we will ever really understand that much about it as it would not be ethical to seriously test the idea !

Brugmansia Sat 17-Nov-12 10:46:35

But FASD is not the same as FAS. It is less serious but, as said above, it is a spectrum and can still be serious. The difficulty is trying to figure out where the tipping point may be and what other factors may be relevant, eg genetic susceptibility.

katiecubs Sat 17-Nov-12 10:30:15

FAS is obviously an extremely serious condition associated with very heavy drinking and alcoholism. This study in no way implies that a couple of drinks a week could lead to your child having such a serious disability.

pommedechocolat Sat 17-Nov-12 09:48:05

So I had a small glass of wine a week in both my pregnancies from about 16/17 weeks (i.e. from when I could face it).

Even though I would then be 'implicated' I am glad that people are doing studies on pregnancy and newborn. i think it is great to have scientific focus on this.

However, I think 2 IQ points is pretty marginal. Perhaps arrogantly, given mine and my DHs academic records etc I am not worried about that for my kids.

What really pisses me off is the sensationalist journalism around this kind of study. Drinking in pregnancy makes your kids thick! Formula makes your kids thick and fat! etc etc ad nauseum. It is journalism that is both lazy and aimed at knocking women down with guilt and worry again and again.

Wholly unfair and a worrying demonstration that we still live in a very patriarchal society.

tacoxx Sat 17-Nov-12 09:43:23

Research does not show that moderate drinking in pregnancy harms children’s IQ

I found this story on the research very interesting. It shows a very different take on the research findings which throws their interpretation into question.

Brugmansia Sat 17-Nov-12 09:33:45

"westcoastwinnie", I'm sorry to hear about your son's difficulties. Your post though in some ways highlights the limitations of this type of research.

I'm not that worried about a potential drop in IQ of less than 2 as that is unlikely to have any real impact on my child's life. I am concerned about FASD, which as your post describes can have very serious implications, but is still very poorly understood.

Hopefully this research may add to overall scientific understanding of how alcohol affects fetal development. I'm not sure the media reporting of it helps public understanding.

LeBFG Sat 17-Nov-12 08:19:46

Am I the only one a bit hmm about all this stealth boasting?

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