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Drinking alcohol during pregnancy may increase the risk of a child developing behavioural problems in later life, so new research has found.
It has been discovered by researchers at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth that the type of behavioural issue is influenced by the quantity of alcohol consumed and at which trimester the alcohol is consumed, scientists have said.
2,000 Australian mothers were asked to complete a questionnaire when their babies were 3 months old and again when they were 2, 5 and 8. Mothers who reported they drank heavily (more than a bottle of wine a week) during the first trimester of their pregnancy were nearly three times as likely to observe that their child suffered from anxiety and/or depression.
Mothers who drank moderately were twice as likely to report problems. It seemed that exposure to alcohol did influence the babies' behaviour.
It was found that low levels of alcohol did not pose a risk to the baby.
Mothers need not be alarmed by these findings: as not all babies will be effected. However, it is vital that pregnant women understand the risks and that all women of pregnancy age are informed and educated about the effects of alcohol can have on their unborn child.