Boozy mums risk babies

Herald Sun November 21, 2009

Mums who drink heavily during early pregnancy are more likely to have babies with anxiety or depression. An Australian study has found the amount, timing and pattern of drinking by expectant mothers can affect child behaviour. Women who drank “heavily” – at least two standard drinks a session and more than seven a week – during the first trimester were nearly three times more likely than average to report that their child suffered anxiety or depression and general aches and pains. And “moderate” drinkers – three to four drinks a time and no more than seven a week – were twice as likely as the average to report problems.

Heavy or moderate drinking late in pregnancy increased the child’s risk of developing aggressive behaviour, a Telethon Institute for Child Health Research paper found. Low levels of alcohol – one to two drinks a time and fewer than seven a week – did not increase the risk of harm to the baby, according to the study, published online in the journal Addiction. More than 2000 mothers were quizzed three months after giving birth, and again when the child was two, five and eight years old.