Is It Safe?
Be that as it may, most major health organizations (see below) say to nix the alcohol -- be that beer, wine or any other liquored beverage. While there is no hard and fast evidence that one drink -- or even two over the course of pregnancy -- will harm your baby, there's nothing to say that it definitely won't. We're talking about a little imbibing on your part that may affect your baby's life for the worse. Is that worth the risk? Not to lecture you or anything, but we here at P&B say no way. There will be plenty of time to booze it up after pregnancy, if you must. Here's what five major pregnancy- or government-related associations and agencies had to say:
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can be harmful to you and your growing baby. Thus, the best course is not to drink at all during pregnancy. This will give your baby the best start in life.
American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM)
Although many women are aware that heavy drinking during pregnancy can cause birth defects, many do not realize that frequent episodes of moderate -- or even light -- drinking may also harm the developing fetus, particularly during the first and third trimesters. "Numerous studies have shown that exposure to alcohol in the womb on a regular basis, has been linked to decreased birth weight, growth abnormalities, as well as behavioral and learning problems," says ACNM Executive Director Deanne Williams, CNM, MSN. "If you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant, play it safe."
US Surgeon General
"We must prevent all injury and illness that is preventable in society, and alcohol-related birth defects are completely preventable," Dr. Carmona said. "We do not know what, if any, amount of alcohol is safe. But we do know that the risk of a baby being born with any of the fetal alcohol spectrum disorders increases with the amount of alcohol a pregnant woman drinks, as does the likely severity of the condition. And when a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, so does her baby. Therefore, it's in the child's best interest for a pregnant woman to simply not drink alcohol."
Public Health Agency of Canada
Stopping or cutting down drinking alcohol while pregnant will help ensure a healthy baby. No alcohol is the best (and the safest!) choice for having a healthy baby... Beer, wine, cocktails, coolers, hard liquors such as whiskey, gin or vodka, liqueurs or even hard ciders all contain alcohol that can hurt your developing baby. There is no safe type of alcohol to drink when you are pregnant.
UK Central Office of Information
When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, the alcohol passes through the placenta and can affect the baby's development. This happens throughout the pregnancy, not just in the first few weeks. Excessive drinking can lead to low weight at birth and can also affect the physical and mental development of the child. Getting drunk is particularly risky. The advice is avoid getting drunk and drink no more than one or two units once or twice a week. One UK unit contains eight grams of pure alcohol and it's the strength and size of a drink that determines how many units it has.
As you can see, Great Britain offers the only dissenting view. If you want to know more, here are some other articles on this topic:
- Small amounts of alcohol or anesthetics may damage the developing brain
- The latest on drinking alcohol during pregnancy
- Alcohol when pregnant can lead to newborn infections
- How much alcohol is safe to drink while pregnant?
- Alcohol warning for pregnant women
- Ultrasounds show mothers' drinking shrinks fetal brain
- Alcohol may play a key role in early miscarriage
If you do decide to go out drinking in public while visibly pregnant, don't expect acceptance. Gwyneth Paltrow couldn't get away with it (even with the okay of her accepted British homeland), and it's unlikely that you will manage to, either. Sometimes, peer pressure is a good thing.