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Could 'Moderate' Drinking Be Safe During Pregnancy?

British study finds no problems with balance in kids, but some experts have concerns about the findings

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Maternal genetic testing further revealed that the children of mothers who had a so-called "low alcohol" gene (known to reduce drinking behaviors) did not perform worse on the balance tests than those whose mothers didn't have the gene.

Dr. Francine Einstein, from the department of obstetrics & gynecology and women's health at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, described the study as "interesting" while cautioning that self-reports about alcohol consumption "must be taken with a grain of salt."

"Some women may not recall how much they drank or may under-report use, particularly when there is a social stigma associated with what you are asking about," she noted. So "getting an accurate assessment of how much alcohol a child was exposed to is going to be difficult."

Reading and math skills should also be assessed, she added, as should the impact of other nondrinking factors -- such family wealth -- on a child's performance.

"For these reasons, I would be reluctant to tell my patients that drinking in pregnancy is a good idea," Einstein said.

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