News: Is moderate drinking in early pregnancy safe?

I have a long list of things that scare me about pregnancy: Carrying a baby for nine months, being in


I have a long list of things that scare me about pregnancy: Carrying a baby for nine months, being in labour for many painful hours and, of course, giving birth.

Giving up alcohol ranks pretty low on that list, but I do love a glass (or two) of red wine with dinner, so I’d probably notice more than I think I would if I had to give it up for nine months.

Luckily for me, there’s a new study, published in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, that suggests one to eight drinks a week wouldn’t harm the baby.

The study, which looked at effects of alcohol on IQ, attention span and functions such as planning, organization, and self-control in five-year-old children, found that low to moderate weekly drinking in early pregnancy had no significant effect on neurodevelopment.

Don’t pull on your hottest maternity jeans and head to the bar just yet though. The study also found that having nine or more drinks per week was associated with a considerably lower attention span amongst five-year-olds.

‘High prenatal exposure to alcohol has consistently been associated with adverse effects on neurodevelopment,’ the study’s authors wrote.

Those same lovely authors have done pregnant women everywhere a favour and made it clear that a couple of drinks won’t hurt their babies. ‘Our findings show that low to moderate drinking is not associated with adverse effects on the children aged five.’

Still, they err on the side of caution and advise, ‘to choose not to drink.’ But, if I’m ever pregnant, I’m going to focus on the part where they say, ‘small amounts have not been shown to be harmful,’ and have a glass.

I may not know what it’s like to be pregnant, but I do know that when my hormones are out I’ve control, I’ve gained a bunch of weight and feel bloated and tired, a nice glass of red wine will be welcome.

What do you think? Would you drink (in moderation) during pregnancy?

-Katharine Watts, Associate Web Editor

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