Drinking one or two units of alcohol a week during pregnancy does not raise the risk of developmental problems in the child, a study has suggested. Official advice remains that women abstain completely during pregnancy. A study of more than 11,000 five-year-olds published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found no evidence of harm. There were more behavioural and emotional problems among the children of heavy-drinking women. When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, it passes through the placenta and reaches the baby, which is less well-equipped to break it down. Researchers have strongly linked heavy drinking to an increased risk of lifelong damage. However, the evidence about the risks to lighter drinkers has been far less clear. The first had found no evidence of problems at age three, but the latest study extended the checks until school age to make sure nothing had emerged later. The same result appeared, with no extra risk of behavioural and emotional issues compared with children whose mothers had abstained during pregnancy. In fact, the children born to light drinkers appeared slightly less likely to suffer behavioural problems, and scored higher on cognitive tests, compared with women who stopped during pregnancy.