Danish Study’S Findings May Relieve Moms

How many of us have gotten a positive pregnancy test, and then realized that we may have had a drink or two before we realized we were pregnant? Read on to find out why this may not be a big deal.

Pregnant drinking risks

A new Danish study should relieve moms who have knocked back a few alcoholic drinks prior to finding out they were pregnant. Putting two and two together -- that you may have drank a few beers while you were pregnant and didn’t know it yet -- may cause tons of stress. But researchers in Denmark have discovered that there are usually no long-term effects from limited alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

Alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix

Everyone knows that pregnancy and alcohol shouldn’t mix. But if you are a casual drinker, and not trying to conceive, chances are that you may have consumed some alcohol in the weeks before you thought to take a pregnancy test. This can be a huge shock and you may worry that you’ve damaged your baby, especially if you had a night of binge drinking.

The researchers studied over 1600 Danish mothers and their babies, who are now 5-year-old children, and tested their IQ, attention spans and neurological functions. They were compared to peers whose mothers didn’t consume alcohol during pregnancy and it was found that kids of mothers who drank between one and six alcoholic drinks per week, or had an episode of binge drinking early on, didn’t suffer any ill effects from their mom’s alcohol intake.

Don’t worry ...

"The Danish Health and Medicines Authority recommends pregnant women to abstain completely from alcohol consumption, but we know from other studies that about half of the pregnant women do not entirely stay away from alcohol during pregnancy,” said says Ulrik Schiøler Kesmodel, associate professor at Aarhus University and lead researcher on the project. “Many of these mothers report binge episodes during the period before they even knew that they were pregnant. Now we have scientific evidence which may set their minds at ease."

… but don’t drink

It’s unsure whether the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology will alter their current recommendation of alcohol intake by a pregnant woman, which currently stands at zero.

Alcohol use during pregnancy has been shown to cause mental and physical defects in a baby according to the March of Dimes.

What I take from this study is to not worry excessively if you drank some before you found out you were pregnant, but don’t use this as a free ticket to drink. I believe there is more research that needs to be done before we can truly say that some alcohol during pregnancy is okay.

More on drinking alcohol

Ultrasounds show mothers’ drinking shrinks fetal brain
Drinking alcohol and breastfeeding: What is safe?

Poll reveals moms drinking and smoking during pregnancy

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