Drinking for two now.

I’ve often suspected what Discovery News has confirmed: that it’s probably not so bad for an unborn baby to have a mother who enjoys a glass or two now and then:

Final results of the study, published today in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, agreed with previous work that children born to heavy binge drinkers do worst on developmental tests, because excessive exposure to alcohol in the womb kills nerve cells and causes brain damage.

The kids of teetotalers did almost as poorly, however, reflecting the complicated phenomenon that people who never drink have poor outcomes on many measures of health.

But the study found no evidence that light drinking during pregnancy causes emotional or learning problems in children through the age of five. In some tests of vocabulary and pattern creation, boys actually did best if their moms drank a little while carrying them. The findings confirmed what the researchers had found when the kids were three years old.

The results don’t mean that alcohol is good for a developing fetus, [Fred Bookstein, an applied statistician who studies fetal alcohol spectrum disorders at both the University of Washington, Seattle, and the University of Vienna] said. Rather, there’s something about women who decide to cut down on alcohol while pregnant that also produces favorable results in their children, even if they don’t cut out alcohol completely. They may be more medically informed, for example, which might also lead them to ask their doctors for advice, take vitamins and follow health news.

Drinking just a little could also help pregnant women relax, [lead researcher Yvonne Kelly, an epidemiologist at University College London] said.