Study: No Amount Of Boozing Is Safe For Pregnant Women

The medical consensus holds that pregnant women need to stop drinking in order to avoid harming their babies, but some conventional wisdom and myths temper that advice with the understanding that an occasional drink is OK. The latter line of thinking — reflected half-mockingly in the latest episode of Justified — is false and potentially dangerous, according to a University of California San Diego study.

USA Today reports the study found that different amounts, timing and frequency of drinking resulted in fetal alcohol syndrome, which is believed to cause physical and mental abnormalities in infants. About 1 percent of the U.S. population suffers from the syndrome.

The study, which appeared in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, pinpointed the second half of the first trimester as the point in the pregnancy as the period in which physical manifestations of fetal alcohol syndrome were most likely to develop.

That doesn’t mean that there’s any particularly safe or less-harmful time to drink during pregnancy. Pregnant women who have trouble halting their drinking should enlist all the help they can to give their babies the best chance of proper development.

Study: No alcohol intake safe during pregnancy [USA Today]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Grogey says:

    Um yeah… Pregnant, don’t drink. I knew that already.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      But but…Gwyneth Paltrow drank while pregnant, so it MUST be a good thing to do…right? Since she’s trying to be the wispy WASP Oprah? (If nobody believes me, google it…it happened!)

    • failurate says:

      Just last year you probably knew something else.

      This article from Discovery said the exact opposite of this USA Today article. And, the Discovery article uses lines such as, “The study, which found no evidence of harm from having a couple drinks a week during pregnancy, was so well done and its findings so conclusive that it ought to become the final word in the field”.

      • FatLynn says:

        The USA Today article is also, well, selective about how it reports the study. They didn’t really say that no amount is safe, they said that they can not come up with a known safety threshold. However, they are talking about drinks per day, as in, more than one/day, during the second half of the third trimester. You can not extrapolate to “a drink/week in the third trimester is unsafe”.

      • Potted-Plant says:

        The study Discovery referenced also dealt with cognitive abilities and seemed to have well defined parameters defining normal vs. abnormal, while the one USA Today referenced physical characteristics only.

  2. r-nice says:

    I don’t need a study to tell me this but I don’t think the women that drink while pregnant will be moved by this at all.

    • bluline says:

      Probably not, which is why I expect some legislator to sooner or later introduce a bill that would make it illegal for a pregnant woman to drink, smoke, or do anything else that might harm her fetus. I’ve already heard of controversies involving bars and restaurants refusing to serve alcohol to an obviously pregnant woman despite there being no law against it.

      • magnetic says:

        Some states have done this, with totally absurd results.

      • RayanneGraff says:

        I wish they all would, honestly. One of my exes had an ex-girlfriend who started drinking & smoking while 7 months pregnant, in a petulant attempt to get his attention. He called the cops on her only to be informed that there are no laws against pregnant women drinking or smoking. There need to be, IMO.

  3. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    In other news, things we knew ten years ago still appear to be true today.

    More on this as it doesn’t develop.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Actually wisdom over the last few decades has been that a very occasional drink is okay.

      But you knew that, right? That’s why you made the snarky comment? To be ironic?

  4. Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:


  5. SporadicBlah says:

    This is a no brainer! In my 11 yrs as an educator I saw many children with FAS. Its pretty sad. One common physical deformity was eyes real close together. Sometimes small facial features on abnormally large heads were also characteristics of FAS. Its quite disturbing. Women who knowingly cause damage to their unborn is child abuse.

    • pop top says:

      Should we throw pregnant women in jail?

      • SporadicBlah says:

        No. We should work harder at educating the masses of the dangers of drinking while pregnant. We should also work on educating those ignorant fk heads who would even suggest that we incarcerate pregnant women like yourself :)

        • pop top says:

          It wasn’t a suggestion, it was a hypothetical question. But oh, you got me. You called me a bad name, I’m wounded.

        • Bladerunner says:

          Umm, it’s “ignorant” to suggest that abusers be punished? Just checking…regardless of whether the original post was rhetorical or not, it seems “ignorant” to me to suggest that ANYONE should be above the law (You didn’t seem to find fault with the idea of it being child abuse, but rather, the idea of putting pregnant women in jail, as though there were something ridiculous about that…it happens all the time when they, say, shoplift, or assault someone. )

      • tsukiotoshi says:

        Great Law and Order episode about that!

      • RayanneGraff says:

        If they’re drinking, smoking, doing drugs, or doing anything else to endanger that defenseless fetus, YES. You’d throw a parent in jail for putting liquor in a baby’s bottle, why would it be any different just because the kid is still in utero?

        • Erika'sPowerMinute says:

          I wonder what your opinion on abortion is?

          • RayanneGraff says:

            Completely pro-choice, but if a woman chooses to remain pregnant after considering her options, she has an obligation to protect the fetus’s health & well-being. If she wants to keep getting wasted like usual she shouldn’t have chosen to continue the pregnancy.

            • Erika'sPowerMinute says:


              Dismembering baby/sucking through a vacuum tube = totally ok

              Drinking a few Long Island iced teas & increasing likelihood of FAS = go to jail


              Only wanted babies are human enough to deserve protection, I guess.

              • Charmander says:

                He didn’t say that he liked abortion – only that he thinks that people should be able to make that decision (i.e. choice) for themselves.


                • Erika'sPowerMinute says:

                  I’m not an idiot for pointing out how retarded her logic is.

                  If it should be my choice to kill my fetus, it should also be my choice to drink a fifth of bourbon and possibly endanger that fetus.

        • RayanneGraff says:

          And I say this as a pro-choice person who doesn’t want or even LIKE kids, I just think we have a responsibility to protect the innocent from unnecessary harm, be they children, animals, or fetuses.

      • Charmander says:

        There were an awful lot of babies born in the 50s and 60s whose mothers both drank and smoked while pregnant. Your parents, maybe?

        I will not automatically assume that a few drinks while pregnant will cause any lasting harm.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      It’s really disturbing how common FAS is.

      In my county, about 20% of children are born addicted to opiates and another 15% show signs of FAS. It’s amazing how many people here have so many distinct facial markers of FAS, especially when looking at mug shots in the police blotter.

  6. Erika'sPowerMinute says:

    Someone better tell Europe then.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      No kidding. But you know us American’s, we know it all. No one else’s knowledge and experience means anything after we whip out one of our studies that was funded by God knows who.

    • failurate says:

      Someone better tell pretty much every American doctor.

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      So there aren’t any kids with FAS in Europe? Interesting; that wasn’t my experience at all.

      • Erika'sPowerMinute says:

        Which has nothing to do with the fact that there are also millions of perfectly healthy children whose mothers drank lightly during pregnancy.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      Actually this report is not excatly true. Women have been limiting their alcohol intake while being pregnant for hundred’s of years. This idea of zero alcohol is really an American idea because WE don’t handle alcohol well in the first place. In other words, give us an inch, we take a mile. Europeans are different in that they just handle this stuff more responsibly. Drinking a glass of wine while pregnant will not harm an unborn baby. The problem is telling this to a college-aged American woman that likes to binge.

  7. pop top says:

    People who keep saying duh: STFU. As Phil posted in the article, there are still women out there who believe that it doesn’t hurt anyone to have a glass of wine or a beer here and there if they’re pregnant (and there are men who think the same think too). We need definitive studies like these with concrete evidence so that we can combat ignorance with education.

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      We can also combat ignorance by not tolerating or excusing it. “Oh they’re ignorant so it’s OK” is not constructive.

      • pop top says:

        I don’t believe I said anywhere in my post that we should excuse ignorance. Please quote where I said that it was acceptable for people to believe that drinking alcohol while pregnant was OK.

    • K-Bo says:

      Not only are there still women out there who believe it, there are still doctors telling those women “go ahead, have one, but only one” Probably 3 out of 4 pregnant women I’ve known in the last 5 years have been told one is ok by their doctor, making this article a lot more important than people give it credit for.

      • pop top says:

        Exactly! Just like those idiots who believe that vaccines cause autism, there are people who think it’s OK to consume alcohol while pregnant, and some of those people are doctors. Studies like this are needed, even though all the posters here on Consumerist are already so incredibly knowledgeable about everything, because people need to have definitive proof about these things.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Here, here, K-Bo.

        Newsflash to the rest of you, just because YOU knew this doesn’t mean someone else didn’t, and doesn’t make the research any less important.

    • chizu says:

      It’s so sad that there’s so much women hate on here.

      My friend who was pregnant with her son three years ago, might have an occasional drink while pregnant. She said she actually talked to her doctor about it and he said it was okay, as long as it was under a certain amount. (One drink a week, I think.) That was why she did it. It’s so sad that as soon as a woman is pregnant, she’s treated like a incubator. And one single error she makes, she’s either the worst person in the world, or an abuser, etc.

      I mean, of course there are women out there who would drink regardless, and those are likely the individuals who will not stop after one drink. However, this isn’t the issue here. I knew people who seek advice from medical professionals and were given the “okay” before they did it. Studies like this are needed to reinforce certain things, before completely accusing women of being abusers and terrible beings, maybe some doctors should get reeducated.

      • pop top says:

        I don’t see any outright women hate, but remember, this is going to be skewed against women because only women get pregnant. Crazy, I know.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      I don’t let things like ‘facts’ and ‘reading’ get in the way of my perfectly good snark! I have to whine impotently about things, or my brain will explode!

      Here, I even have a doctor’s note that says so.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      It’s not ignorant. No one gets FAS from mom having an occasional beer or wine during pregnancy. The reason the medical establishment emphasizes none is b/c one you tell people that a little is okay, the boozers will push the limits and you will end up with more FAS cases. Individual OB’s with a lot of experience will often say different to moms. It happens all of the time, especially towards the end of pregnancy when women get nervous, and uncomfortable.

      • pop top says:

        If you are drinking alcohol while you are pregnant because you don’t know any better, or your doctor gave you faulty information, that is ignorant, i.e. lacking in information. It’s not an insult in this case.

        • theduckay says:

          No. If your doctor says that having a glass of wine once per week is okay, then its not “ignorant” to think that it isn’t okay. What is “ignorant” is trusting a random internet commenter instead of a medically trained professional. THEY have the eduction, not you. There are countless comments on here from people whose doctors said it was okay…this isn’t just one person’s doctor, but many of them. Blaming women for the fact that they trust what their own doctors are saying is ridiculous.

          • Kate says:

            What you think doctors can’t be ignorant too?

            If you don’t know the most recent findings, you are ignorant of them. You have another word for that, that is better?

            • shepd says:

              What if you know the most recent findings do not describe the results of one drink a week and therefore are invalid as an argument against one drink a week?

              Would the person saying to drink nothing at all be the ignorant one then? Seems so!

            • jmhart says:

              “the most recent findings”

              So, doctors should trust whatever the latest single study says? I’m not sure you understand how this “research” thing works.

            • 99 1/2 Days says:

              I’ll wait for the review, thanks.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        No, doctors do not lie to you to prevent you from going overboard. That is unethical, and illegal.

        What the doctor says will be accurate to his knowledge, and not exagerrated to prevent you from exceeding his wisdom.

        • PunditGuy says:

          Better arrest my daughter’s pediatrician, then. She told me exactly that — doctors need to say “no drinking” because the wrong people will hear “it’s okay to drink as much as you want” if they don’t.

          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            “Better arrest my daughter’s pediatrician, then. She told me exactly that — doctors need to say “no drinking” because the wrong people will hear “it’s okay to drink as much as you want” if they don’t.”

            We heard the same thing from our obstetrician and pediatrician. If they suspect that someone has trouble understanding what moderation means, then they usually just recommend straight prohibition. My wife quit drinking cold turkey with both of our daughters because she thought just having the occasional drink would just be a tease. I have to admit that it was kind of nice having a dedicated DD.

    • shepd says:

      My wife drank a drink here and there (less than once a week) when she was pregnant. I was fully in support of it. Why?

      Because her doctor said it was ok. If you think that’s ignorant, you got another think coming… :)

      And that was only 3 years ago.

      I will review this new information, though. But, frankly, I’d still do what the doctor orders. Of course, next baby, we’ll ask for the new rules. However, this new study seems specifically linked to daily drinking, not once a week drinking, so I bet her recommendation still stands:

      :”For every one-drink increase in the daily average number of drinks consumed during this stage of pregnancy, there was a 25 percent higher risk for having a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip…”

      BTW: Baby is doing just fine.

      • pop top says:


        Lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated.

        Yes, if you don’t know any better, then you are ignorant. I’m glad that your baby is fine, but I’m sure your doctor didn’t order your wife to drink while she was pregnant.

        • NotSara says:

          That’s quite reactionary, don’t you think? A drink once in a while is very likely fine. The study is about daily drinking. The headline saying no alcohol is safe at all EVAR is silly and meant to sell papers/get pageviews. The evidence given in the USA Today article does not support the headline’s conclusion.


        • shepd says:

          If you’re calling the doctor ignorant, that’s up to you. I happen to trust her and her credentials.

          A doctor would very rarely order anyone to do anything. The doctor doesn’t order my wife to have breakfast, either. In both cases (having fewer than one drink a week and having breakfast) the doctor would say “Up to you, no harm in either”. Although I’ve never asked about breakfast, because that one seems obvious.

          TL;DR: Sorry dude, I trust an MD more than the peanut gallery. :)

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Thank you squinto. There were in fact many many doctors who have said the occasional drink was okay. It’s no common knowledge, and really this is just one study on top of hundreds.

      I never get how commenters get the idea they are scientists with decades of practical research under their belt, and not simply people who read about things.

    • magnetic says:

      I’m still not believing it, frankly. And a lot of the people saying “duh” never have been or will never be pregnant. As someone who plans on being pregnant fairly soon, I’ve become wary of who I get my advice from.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        It’s probably good to just talk to your OBGYN about the issue.

        We were told essentially that there is no evidence that the occasional drink causes harm but it’s generally a good idea to do everything in moderation while pregnant. My wife thought it was easier to just abstain entirely from alcohol than to tease herself with the occasional drink.

        Realistically, for the good and the bad, I suspect that most children are exposed to alcohol at some time during the first month of the pregnancy, before the mom realized she was late.

      • piayaz says:

        I’ve been pregnant, and I’m saying duh. Even if there was no sound medical study showing it is unsafe to have a drink here and there, there was no study showing that drinking alcohol while pregnant is safe. If doctors aren’t sure, or can’t agree, then the simple solution is to just err on the side of caution and not drink. If you can’t live without a drink for 9 months, then there is a larger problem.

    • ash says:

      There will never be a definitive study about alcohol consumption during pregnancy because it’s impossible to do a randomized double-blinded trial due to ethical issues.

      • justhypatia says:

        *ding, ding, ding* We have a winner!

        This is merely the latest study that say “No Alcohol”, the next one will say a glass of wine is fine once in a while.

        This isn’t definitive at all, the research has been going back and forth for decades now and you will never find out for sure because it’s unethical to try to give a child fetal alcohol syndrome.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      Another study? Women have been drinking while pregnant for hundreds of years. That’s all the “studies” you need.

  8. sj_user1 says:

    I know a lot of women who think a glass of wine a week while pregnant is OK. Not surprisingly they are the most selfish people I know in other aspects of their lives as well.

  9. Jeff asks: "WTF could you possibly have been thinking? says:

    Ya think?

  10. Brontide says:


  11. Coffee says:

    After reading studies like this, whenever I watch an episode of Mad Men, I keep waiting for pregnant characters’ babies to come out tentacled freaks. How did humankind even survive the mid twentieth century? We there enormous pens fulls of hideously deformed children? Did people leave their FAS/cigarette babies in the woods to die and no one talked about it?

  12. RokMartian says:

    B.S. My mom drank plenty while my conjoined twin and I were still in the oven. We came out just fine.

  13. Scuba Steve says:

    At first I read “Boxing” and I was like… “I didn’t know that was a thing.”

  14. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    My OB/Gyn and midwife both said that an occasional glass a week at the end of pregnancy to help with sleeplessness causes no harm. My best friend’s doc also told her that she needed to just go home and relax with a glass of wine when she was in her last 5 weeks. I didn’t do it, and neither did she, but I tend to believe that an occasional glass later on does not harm. I do know many pregos who pop Ambien with the doc’s approval like crazy. I don’t see how an occasional glass of wine later would be any worse. Again, I didn’t do it, but I think that saying none is over reacting. I know they say none because if they say you can have a little, people will have a lot.

  15. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I see a lot of women drinking AFTER pregnancy, when they are still breastfeeding. I thought this was not allowed as well. Did I miss something?

    • chizu says:

      My friend did that. But she would pump out the milk (like an hour after she drank) and discard that. She only fed the baby the second or third pump. (She also had a lot frozen, so she wasn’t worried about not producing enough in time.)

    • Kuchen says:

      Alcohol isn’t trapped in the breast milk. If your blood alcohol level is low, so is the level in your breast milk. As long as you’re not breastfeeding WHILE intoxicated, alcohol is fine for nursing mothers. If you still feel tipsy baby needs to eat, he should get a bottle.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I believe the expression is “pump and dump”.

    • jmhart says:

      Two things:

      1)A small amount of alcohol will be broken down before it can have an effect on the milk. One drink isn’t enough to be an issue.

      2)Women who imbibe more than just a drink can pump and dump.

  16. highdesert says:

    A one-drink increase in your average drinks per day means 7 more drinks per week.. This is the tipping point (sorry) described in the article. A fetus exposed to 7 drinks per week (mean = 1) has a much different developmental experience than one exposed to one drink per week (mean = .14). The source article is of course paywalled, so you should probably just listen to your doctor on this one.

    • malraux says:

      Beyond that, there’s a fair amount of evidence that women who drink at that level while pregnant under report the amount they drink.

  17. Cat says:

    But meth and crack are okay.

  18. The Porkchop Express says:

    The thing is: If a woman is able to just have one drink per week while “with child”, she would certainly be able to not have any drinks right?

    Just don’t do it. you know, better safe than sorry.

    We know that there must be a threshold that is safe or unsafe at some level. While we do not know the exact amount, why not just say it isn’t safe?

    • Potted-Plant says:

      Because it’s nobody’s business but her and her doctor’s? Because scientific research hasn’t settled the issue yet? Because this is just a first in a lifetime’s worth of decisions that she will make as a mother that you might not agree with, but are still absolutely none of your business?

  19. travel_nut says:

    I had no problems with abstaining from alcohol during pregnancy. However, I did have half a glass of champagne on my wedding anniversary, about a week before the kid was born, with my doctor’s blessing. No harm, no foul. An ounce and a half of alcohol is not nearly enough to cause problems.

    • Mike says:

      It’s a crap shoot. Even one drink at the wrong time could have serious effects. It will cause brain damage to the fetus, period. How much brain damage is not enough to matter?

  20. Mike says:

    A lot of people are still under the impression that an occasional drink is harmless for a pregnant woman. In fact, I recently spoke to a pregnant woman who’s doctor told her one drink a day was OK. The fact is there is no safe amount of alcohol for a pregnant woman to drink. A fetus doesn’t have a liver. The alcohol from 1 drink is gone from the woman’s blood steam in an hour, but stays in the fetus for over 24 hours. During that 24 hours it causes brain damage.

    Fetal Alcohol Syndrome causes ADHD and behavioral problems. Children with FAS have a better than 50% chance being expelled from school, getting pregnant before they’re 18, and ending up in jail. 90% are considered failures in their adult lives. 25% of death row inmates have FAS.

    Yearly cost estimates for FAS are over 4 billion dollars.

    All completely preventable.

  21. homehome says:

    To be fair, people actually used to think that smoking was not only not harmful, but they said it was good for you. They would be on tv chain smoking then telling you weed would make you go out and stop raping women and shooting ppl. And that was an accepted fact back then by most of the population, even though there was no medical proof.

  22. KitanaOR says:

    So when you get pregnant, your liver stops working? I don’t think that’s true. Had a sip of wine 2 or 3 times during my last pregnancy and my child is perfectly fine. Did anyone read the part where FAS is present in 1% of the population?? It’s really rare.

    I’m pregnant now and I had a glass of wine over the holidays. We’ll see if my child has the rare FAS.

  23. failurate says:

    They should do a study on how much more expectant fathers drink in the first trimester, when the expectant mother isn’t ready to tell her friends, co-workers, and family and passes drinks ordered for her off to her husband to “hide” the pregnancy.

  24. kataisa says:

    Makes you wonder how the human race managed to survive when pregnant women were boozing and smoking for hundreds of thousands of years before the Nannystate “we’ll tell you what’s good for you” 2000s happened.

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      I’ll give you a tiny hint what life was like before all that ‘nannystate’ crap like pre-natal checkups, vaccines, nutritional education and all those other things that are just The Man limiting your ~freedoms~: high infant mortality rates!

      • Potted-Plant says:

        “…..pre-natal checkups, vaccines, nutritional education and all those other things…..”

        All based on solid scientific method and thorough studies with reproducible results. This issue, however is far from settled scientifically. Until then, we’re just going to have to (gasp!) let a pregnant woman use her own judgment.

  25. BennieHannah says:

    The problem with advice like this is that the results are not supported by the personal experiences of the women I know or my own personal experiences. I have a wide circle of female friends and colleagues. Most have more than one child, and all had at least one or two drinks during their pregnancies (a glass of champagne at a wedding, a glass of wine at an anniversary celebration, etc.) None had children with fetal alcohol syndrome. I drank regularly (but not excessively) in the early days of my first pregnancy simply because I didn’t know I was pregnant. I imagine that happens a LOT. I felt guilty when I was diagnosed with knocked up, but thankfully he came out looking like an ordinary alien being, and had no developmental or other delays, physically or academically.

    I realize my experiences don’t constitute a study, but when these dramatic pronouncements don’t match real world experiences, it’s hard to take them seriously — EVEN ONE DRINK WILL RUIN YOUR BABY! — and it is hard to believe that less than a handful of drinks over the course of an entire pregnancy would cause irreparable harm.

    Obviously, no alcohol is best — just like no caffeine is best, no smog is best, no handling harsh chemicals is best, no STRESS is best, but I’m not going to judge a pregnant woman who sips a beer on St. Paddy’s Day — unless it’s green beer. Everyone knows that green dye will mess a fetus up!

  26. Haggus says:

    Women routinely expose themselves to alcohol in mouthwash throughout the pregnancy. Back to the blackboard.

  27. Nyxalinth says:

    How is that for hundreds and even thousands of years, most if not all babies were born to mothers who drank every now and then?

    At the rate this is going, I foresee a day where pregnant women are rounded up and placed in hermetically sealed chambers and fed through tubes for nine months.

  28. richcreamerybutter says:

    I assume that everyone who believes pregnant women shouldn’t even think of a sip of wine also support legislation banning the use of any chemical or other toxin under any circumstances, considering that pregnant women might be exposed at some point during their pregnancies.

  29. km9v says:

    A glass of wine w/ dinner is not going to cause fetal alcohol syndrome.

  30. azgirl says:

    I think we need to consider all solvents in the study, and loading. Being pregnant, and an enviro professional- I avoid any chemicals at work, and salons and spas. Acetone and other solvents have the same effect as drinking and should be avoided. If you are gettig air exposures to solvents and drinking, you are really adding to your problem.

    Frankly, I can’t stand the smell not pregnant at salons, and can not imagine how sick I would be getting my nails painted now.. HA!

    Add this to new paint and carpet smells in your house.. it is a toxic soup and should be avoided.

  31. azgirl says:

    I think we need to consider all solvents in the study, and loading. Being pregnant, and an enviro professional- I avoid any chemicals at work, and salons and spas. Acetone and other solvents have the same effect as drinking and should be avoided. If you are gettig air exposures to solvents and drinking, you are really adding to your problem.

    Frankly, I can’t stand the smell not pregnant at salons, and can not imagine how sick I would be getting my nails painted now.. HA!

    Add this to new paint and carpet smells in your house.. it is a toxic soup and should be avoided.

  32. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I’ll probably never need this *sigh* but I had planned that if I ever did, I would just avoid it altogether. Except for the very occasional glass of wine with a dinner out, I rarely drink anyway. It wouldn’t be hard to avoid it.

  33. Eels says:

    First, FAS is not the only birth defect caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy. It has the potential to negatively impact any number of systems, particularly in the first trimester, so why risk it?

    Second, we will never have an agreed upon amount that’s “safe” to consume during pregnancy. Every medical textbook I have read says this. You know how that friend you have can drink 10 beers in an hour and stay conscious, and your other friend has a glass of wine and is totally hammered? That is because they metabolise alcohol differently. We all do. So while yes, it might be okay if I have a champagne toast at my baby shower in my third trimester, or you have a sip of your partner’s beer when you’re out to dinner, there are a lot of women who that is NOT ok for, and so we can’t throw out generalisations for something that is highly specific.

    Third, just because a doctor says you can have a drink once a week, that doesn’t mean they’re actually right. They also used to prescribe cigarettes as a diet drug and sterilise people who were handicapped.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      “They also used to prescribe cigarettes as a diet drug and sterilise people who were handicapped.”

      Isn’t that essentially the same argument that Jenny McCarthy and her followers use to oppose vaccinations?

      • failurate says:

        Once someone gets caught up in the cult of pseudo-medicine, it is damn near impossible to bring them back to reality.

      • Eels says:

        Perhaps it was a bad argument. What I’m trying to say is that a lot of OBGYNs have not updated their practices since they came out of their residency. They say it’s ok to drink while pregnant, they also think every woman in labor needs an episiotomy.

  34. kennedar says:

    We got the go-ahead for the occasional drink from: my family dr, 3 different midwives (they work in a team and at various points have all told me that it is ok) and my reproductive endocronolist. All said that as long as it was just one, once in a while, there was no harm. I have chosen not to drink at all, but there is nothing wrong with the very occasional drink. Heck, our midwives recommend a small half shot of whisky to make early labour easier!

  35. RayanneGraff says:

    As a pro-choice woman who doesn’t want or even LIKE children, I just have to wonder- why even bother trying to rationalize drinking while pregnant? Just DON’T DO IT. Why take the chance of fucking up your kid FOR LIFE just to have a drink a few times a week? Are you that addicted to alcohol that you can’t give it a rest for nine measly months? Pathetic.

    I knew a guy who had fetal alcohol syndrome. He was short, scrawny, and mentally deficient. He went to the same school I did, though he was in the special classes. He was a nice guy & we were all friends with him, but the guy was seriously messed up, all because his mom just couldn’t put the bottle down. She didn’t have to pay the consequences for her choices, HE did. Drinking, smoking, or doing drugs while pregnant is pretty much the most selfish, indefensible thing anyone can do.

    • Potted-Plant says:

      I’ve read every single comment in this thread up until this time and there is not one single person arguing that a pregnant woman should have even a few drinks a week. The highest frequency argued for is one. Per week. There is no, repeat no, data supporting one drink a week for a pregnant woman is in any way damaging to her child. To suggest otherwise is wrong.

      My sympathies to your schoolmate, but he was born to an alcoholic. An addict. None of the mothers here defending their decision to have an occasional drink are alcoholics. To suggest they are is wrong, as is calling them selfish and their behavior indefensible. Until you have hard proof that the moderate behavior described by the mothers in this thread is in any way damaging, please keep the invective to yourself. You’re free to make your choices without static here. Please extend the courtesy to others, even those you disagree with.

  36. Chiclet says:

    What about this study published last year that says light drinking causes no harm:

    There’s always going to be a study out there telling pregnant women what to do and what not to do. If you listen to all the studies that contract each other, you will go crazy.

  37. exconsumer says:

    “No safe level” . . . I believe they say this to deter some mothers who might otherwise drink at unsafe levels, but that does not make it correct. Even in their own study they found that the risk reduced as the intake and frequency reduced. Which means that there has to be some sufficiently low level where the risk is effectively zero. . . . which isn’t surprising because that’s how biology and chemicals always work.

  38. Zen Angel says:

    I had my OB/GYN tell me to have a glass of wine a week when pregnant with my middle child. I changed doctors.

    I was, years ago, a bartender at an airport. I was not allowed to refuse to serve pregnant women, and I cringed inside every time a visibly pregnant mom-to-be would say, “One more Tequilla Sunrise before the plane gets here.”