Women received a familiar directive from the American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday: Don’t drink while pregnant. Not even a little bit. Ever. At all. That’s the message of a new survey to be published in the journal Pediatrics. The message from the paper’s lead author, University of Texas Health Science Center professor of pediatrics Janet Williams, as paraphrased by the Guardian: “[T]here is no known ‘safe’ level of alcohol consumption.”
Those words seem definitive, but they also suggest a more complex truth. The interdiction on light drinking while pregnant is about known unknowns: whether there’s a totally safe level of consumption and what that level might be. It’s not a statement about something that we do know: that alcohol, even the occasional glass of wine, is definitively harmful to a developing fetus.
Roughly 1 in 10 American women drink while pregnant, with college-educated, professional women more likely to do so than other groups. Binge drinking—usually defined as having more than four drinks in a sitting—has long been known to carry a risk of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, including learning and emotional disabilities as well as physical abnormalities. But many new studies suggest that light drinking is just fine. A series of five papers published by Danish researchers in 2012 found no differences between the 5-year-old children of mothers who had up to eight drinks a week (never bingeing on any single occasion) and those who abstained. Writing for Slate in 2013, economist Emily Oster, author of Expecting Better, highlighted a few other studies, including one that found no behavioral differences in 14-year-olds whose mothers had had up to a drink a day, and one that found the same for test performance and intellectual ability.
These new studies don’t constitute enough information to tell us where, exactly, to draw the line, which could explain why doctors set it at zero. In her much-shared Cosmopolitan piece “Why I Drank While I Was Pregnant,” writer Michelle Ruiz hypothesized that, in our litigious society, OB-GYNs don’t want to be responsible for telling women that the occasional glass of Pinot is fine, even if that’s what they privately believe. It’s also true, as Williams argued in the Guardian, that “we don’t have sensitive enough methods” to detect every minor abnormality that could stem from alcohol use. Since researchers don’t know for sure what they could be missing, she said, “I think it’s a leap in faith to say it’s safe, it’s completely safe.”
I remember them telling me I could only have tuna fish once a month
I figure if it is only for 9 months and they recommended no alcohol for those 9 months, I would give it up too.
A rather large percentage of people have a hard time distinguishing the line between 'just a few drinks' and 'drinking too much'. Should they be tempting themselves by drinking at all during a pregnancy?
I say keep in under strict control just to be safe, a few glasses a week.
Kids whose mothers had up to eight drinks a week were just as smart as their peers born to abstaining moms, according to the study, which measured brainpower in several ways.
The problem comes from when a child is born and it has some mental or physical problems. You'd probably have doubts yourself: "Would this have happened if I had abstained from drinking?"
Other important people in your life (family, friends), might harbour the same kind of feeling.
Is all that aggravation worth the temporary ban on alcohol for three quarters of a year or so?
My doctor point blank told me that..she said that many of her patients she would suggest not to have any alcohol because occasionally to some people take it as having a drink every day whereas it is meant more like once or twice a month or so.
I've heard plenty of people prescribe a glass of wine (that's it) to pregnant women.
The problem comes from when a child is born and it has some mental or physical problems. You'd probably have doubts yourself. These doubts happen to almost literally EVERY PARENT even if the both parents were stone cold sober throughout the pregnancy. Doubt and anxiety is the very nature behind parenthood.