A study in 2012 by Danish researchers found that pregnant women who have one to eight drinks of alcohol a week during their pregnancy had no effect on their child by age 5. However, it’s important that pregnant women understand this is one single study adrift hundreds that disagree. Research such as this that offers hope for women to drink during pregnancy–something many miss–can be dangerous and could very well create an influx in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in the next generation.
Why is this study irrelevant?
The Danish study failed to consider factors such as the mother’s genetic makeup, metabolism, and the time during her pregnancy she drank. Other studies also disagree. The few other studies done that did find light drinking after the first trimester safe had the same flaws as the Danish study. It’s well-known that while one mother may drink regularly and see no ill effects in her child, another may see damage from a single drink. The only sure fire method to avoid the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome is to not drink at all during pregnancy.
Why are women debating this at all?
You really have to wonder why women would risk damage to their child over something as silly as bit of alcohol. Many fall back on the cultural blanket that in European counties alcohol consumption is routine and more a part of everyday life like a morning cup of Joe in America. Having lived in Europe, I can see this point of view; however, pregnancy in general upsets your daily routine. Mothers change all sorts of things in the interest of having a healthy child, why should alcohol be any different?
Is alcohol ever safe during pregnancy?
Most American respected sources such as the CDC do not recommend any alcohol use during pregnancy, but note that if you must, wait until after the half-way mark when more of the vital organ development is complete. Drinking after that point should be kept in moderation. The Danish study along with one or two others that have examined light drinking during pregnancy do offer comfort to those that drank before they knew they were pregnant, or slipped and had a single glass of wine at some point. But, as a mother, I do hope that this information does not encourage an uptick in drinking during pregnancy. It’s only 40 weeks, that’s a small price to pay for a healthy child.