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New pregnancy and drinking study

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Amarillo, Texas - Very light drinking while pregnant may not have harmful effects.

Fifteen percent of women in the U.S. reportedly drink while pregnant. New information is saying having an occasional drink while pregnant has no effect on the child.

Light drinking during pregnancy does not increase the risk of children developing behavioral or cognitive disabilities, reports a study published in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Researchers tracked seven year-olds and questioned parents on behavior along with educational quizzes for the children. But local doctors say an important piece of information is missing, children's IQ.

"Interestingly in this study, they didn't really look at the IQ of these infants. They looked at the ability to read, the ability to do math and a few other things, but they didn't look at other perils about the IQ and development of the child," Thomas W. Hale, RPh, PhD, Texas Tech University School of Medicine professor of pediatrics says.

Researchers say their work is still in progress.

"The question at this point is still here. We still don't know it's safe and most all clinicians still advise mom's don't drink while you're pregnant at all," Hale says.

Mother of three, Rebecca Walters, says her doctor informed her the occasion drink was OK.

"We were talking about what you can and can't do and I think I found out I was pregnant after I had already drank. They said that's when it came up that it was okay to have an occasional drink of wine is what I remember," Walters says.

Although she was told it was alright, she said she'd never put her child at risk.

"Because it's my baby's life. I mean that was more important to me than having an occasional drink of wine. I mean it could wait," Walters says.

Dr. Hale agrees, it can wait.

"My advice is don't drink. Once you know you're pregnant, don't think. Simply wait it out because we don't know," Hale says.

Dr. Hale says drinking after the four week mark of pregnancy is where the most damage could be done.

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