Sometimes it seems the world is just playing a joke on pregnant ladies everywhere. Every few months, some study will come out that suggests or implies or outright declares that engaging in [insert behavior here] while pregnant will cause your baby to be born with [insert awful thing here]. Then, before you know it, another study will come out and contradict the whole thing. This month it’s drinking (again).
Most women know that drinking during pregnancy is a huge no-no, and it’s typically the first thing on the vice list to go while you wean yourself off of caffeine, sushi and lunch meat. There’s a huge list of risks associated with imbibing while impregnated, posted everywhere from the doctor’s office to most restaurant bathrooms, warning women to stay away from the stuff.
For a long time, a major concern about drinking during pregnancy revolved around fetal alcohol syndrome, or FAS — a group of symptoms that include facial deformity, central nervous system issues and cognitive and behavioral problems.
In the wake of this new study, put out by the American Academy of Pediatrics, it appears there’s more to stress about than that; there are also fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, or FASDs, which can potentially encompass a seriously vast number of symptoms. We’re talking poor coordination, poor judgment and reasoning skills, ADHD, language delays, learning disabilities… the list goes on and on.
None of this is new, of course, but the directive coming from the study is: Don’t drink — ever — if you’re pregnant. Ever. It’s summed up in three neat little bites of information: “During pregnancy, no amount of alcohol intake should be considered safe; there is no safe trimester to drink alcohol; all forms of alcohol, such as beer, wine and liquor, pose similar risk…”
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If you’re confused, don’t feel bad. This is the latest in a long string of studies that contradict one another when it comes to if, when, what and how much alcohol you can safely drink while pregnant. So far, we’ve heard that:
- You should never drink at all
- Light drinking is OK once in a while
- It might be all right if you drink, just as long as you don’t do it in the first trimester
- Even bingeing once or twice during pregnancy isn’t that bad
- Drinking while pregnant can actually be beneficial
- Drinking while pregnant can be beneficial, but only if you’re carrying a boy
Now we’re back to no drinking, not even a little wine, put the glass down, stop it right now. With all the resources we have to spend on studying alcohol consumption during pregnancy, it might be wise to set a few dollars aside to study the effect of chronic whiplash on mothers who get a new piece of information regarding the risks every few months or so.
If you’re looking for a takeaway here, it would probably just be wise to not drink while you’re pregnant.
Sure, it sucks. After years of being told that a glass or two of wine or whatever during those last three months isn’t the end of the world, it’s time to put the dream of enjoying a late-pregnancy Chianti away. You can always pick it back up again if the wonderful world of science gives you the go-ahead, but then again, you might not want to. No sense getting your hopes up if the information changes again a few months after that.
Which it will.
Now, to check to see what the studies say about stressing out about studies about drinking alcohol while pregnant. Something tells us it isn’t good. But hey, that could change too.