The Truth About Drinking During Pregnancy?

The American Academy of Pediatrics is attempting to settle any and all debate over whether it is safe for women to drink during pregnancy by announcing that women should completely abstain. The information was released in the November 2015 issue of Pediatrics as reported by a number of news outlets, including CNN.

“There is no safe amount, no safe time, and no safe type of alcohol to drink during pregnancy. It’s just not worth the risk,” said Dr. Cheryl Tan, an epidemiologist at the CDC, CNN.com.

The report contradicts past studies that have shown moderate drinking — one or two glasses of alcohol a week during pregnancy — to have no effect on the unborn child. Why debate, argues the AAP, when prenatal exposure to alcohol is the top preventable cause of birth defects and cognitive problems later in life?

It can be argued that a certain demographic — specifically pregnant women in their mid-to-late 30s — have embraced the idea of drinking in moderation while pregnant.

“… in my experience, these (we?) women are more likely to drink because they consider themselves, however arrogantly, smart enough to question the American medical standard,” wrote Michelle Ruiz one year ago on Cosmopolitan.

Perhaps that is exactly what this new study needed to fix: the idea that older, more mature women believe there is no issue with a little indulging here and there while pregnant. The problem, the study determined, is that there is plenty to be concerned over, specifically the increased possibility of growth retardation.

It may not seem like a lot, but the affect of alcohol on each woman and her unborn child varies, which is why Tan and her team say the unequivocal decision should be to abstain altogether.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk the baby could have multiple problems, including trouble with hearing and vision, and with the heart, bones and kidneys, the report said. Children of mothers who drank while pregnant were also more likely to have neurodevelopment issues such as troubles with abstract reasoning, information processing, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. — NBC New York

While consuming just one drink a few times a week may not seem like a big deal compared to binge drinking — which one in 33 pregnant women in this study reported to doing — its effect on children is under-recognized.

That is why the AAP is taking any guesswork out of the equation and telling mothers not to do it – plain and simple.

“The research suggests that the smartest choice for women who are pregnant is to just abstain from alcohol completely,” said Dr. Janet F. Williams, one of the leading authors of the report from the American Academy of Pediatrics.



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