Evid Based Med doi:10.1136/eb-2013-101293
  • Harm
  • Cohort study

Light drinking in pregnancy is not associated with poor child mental health and learning outcomes at age 11

  1. Erik Lykke Mortensen2
  1. 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark
  2. 2Institute of Public Health and Center for Healthy Ageing, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Ulrik Schiøler Kesmodel
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Aarhus University Hospital, Brendstrupgaardsvej, Aarhus 8200, Denmark; ulrikesm{at}

Commentary on: Sayal K, Draper ES, Fraser R, et al. Light drinking in pregnancy and mid-childhood mental health and learning outcomes. Arch Dis Child 2013;98:107–11.


Health authorities in most countries recommend that pregnant women abstain from alcohol, but in England the current recommendation from the department of health suggests that intake of up to 1–2 UK units once or twice a week may be acceptable.1 Furthermore, many clinicians do not recommend women to abstain from alcohol in pregnancy. While daily alcohol drinking during pregnancy is potentially harmful, it is still controversial whether weekly intake of alcohol may have adverse effects on fetal development and later child development.2


Sayal et al used data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, a well-described cohort of 14 541 pregnancies previously used for several studies on the association between alcohol intake in pregnancy and adverse pregnancy outcomes and child development. Inclusion was restricted to white European women with singleton deliveries.

Information on alcohol intake was self-reported in the mid second trimester, …

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