Drinking in pregnancy could affect children’s mental health

New research led by the University of Bristol has found children whose mothers drink during pregnancy could be at greater risk of mental health problems, particularly anxiety, depression and conduct disorder.

The study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, was carried out by the University’s Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group (TARG) part of the School of Psychological Science and MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit.

High-levels of alcohol use in  is known to affect a child’s . However, less is known about the association of alcohol use in pregnancy and  in children, particularly for low-levels of prenatal alcohol use.

The researchers carried out a  to evaluate current research that has investigated prenatal alcohol use and children’s mental health.

Kayleigh Easey, the study’s lead author and a Ph.D. student at Bristol’s School of Psychological Science, said: “Our findings suggest that alcohol use during pregnancy may be associated with an increased risk of mental health problems in children, and provide support for government guidelines recommending complete abstinence from alcohol during pregnancy. Women can use this information to further inform their choices, and to avoid risk from alcohol use, both during pregnancy and as a precautionary measure when trying to conceive.”

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