By Audrey Quinn
Posting in Technology
A Danish study suggests women can drop the guilt over having a glass or two while pregnant.
Is it okay to drink during pregnancy? Even just a little bit?
The conventional wisdom says don't risk it. But a series of studies by Danish researchers published this week in the BJOG Journal suggests moms-to-be may have a little more leniency with alcohol than typically thought.
They looked at the effects of pregnancy drinking on five-year-olds. The team studied1,628 mothers and their children.
Kids of mothers who were low to moderate drinkers during pregnancy (1-8 drinks per week) showed no significant differences in brain development than kids of mothers who hadn't drank while pregnant. Even incidences of binge drinking did not appear related to neurodevelopmental problems in the five-year-olds.
And, kids whose mothers had completely abstained from drinking did not perform any better on IQ or executive function tasks than the children of low to moderate drinkers.
The one significant difference the researchers did find was that five-year-olds whose mothers drank heavily during pregnancy (more than 9 drinks per week) had lower attention spans than their peers.
So what to make of all this? Previous research has repeatedly suggested negative effects of drinking even just a small amount during pregnancy. A Time U.S. article recommends taking these findings with a grain of salt.
This data is notoriously hard to interpret, in part because it is based on women's self-reports: the public health message against drinking during pregnancy has been so widely adopted that women who do drink may significantly underreport their consumption to researchers. If women who say they are drinking at "light" levels are actually drinking at moderately or heavily, that might make the data on light drinking look more dangerous than they are.
So maybe drinking really is not as dangerous to fetal development as we previously thought. But - and this is a huge but - fetal alcohol spectrum disorder remains the leading cause of developmental delays in children. No one can disagree with the fact that drinking can have effects on a developing baby, and when it does the impact can be devastating.
Jun 21, 2012
Prenatal exposure to alcohol, which is classified as a teratogen can damage the brain across a continuum of gross to subtle impairments, depending on the amount, timing, and frequency of the exposure as well as genetic predispositions of the fetus and mother. [url=http://fetalalcoholanswers.org/]fetal alcohol[/url]
Garbage In, Garbage Out. You are what you eat, and drink; and unfortunately for the unborn children of those with bad habits, that can be a lifelong sentence of debilitation. Although this study seems to indicate that alcohol shouldn't have any negative impact on the developing fetus, personally, I'm not buying the conclusions. Alcohol is a poison to the brain, and no amount of consumption can be viewed as safe. Although as adults in our society we have free will to make whatever choices we see fit for ourselves; unfortunately, those developing humans that have yet to be born into this world, do not have the same rights of free will or informed consent. Sorry ladies, you have a fiduciary responsibility to your children to do the right thing for their growth and development; and that means protecting them against passing harmful substances throughout your pregnancy. Gentlemen, you're not off the hook either. You also need to set a good example as well by protecting your unborn children from potential harm.
I would suggest that, as the American study indicated, the Danish study should be taken with a grain of salt. At the very least view the Danish study with suspicion. Anyone working with children born to moms who have used alcohol would wish that they could go back in time and unravel the harm that was done to the kids, harm that will be with them for much or all of their lives. Moms have a choice in what they consume, the fetus doesn't. There is a huge responsibility implied by that. Best to act in behalf of the fetus not on your behalf.