New Study Finds No Negative Health Effects from Light Drinking During Pregnancy
The studies seem to go back and forth on the debate over whether complete abstinence from alcohol while pregnant is necessary. The surgeon general has remained constant saying the consumption of alcoholic beverages while pregnant may cause birth defects, perhaps that is the office’s way of erring on the side of caution as the scientific community seems to still be on the fence.
Nevertheless, research continues to attempt to answer this extremely complex question. A new study performed in Denmark and funded by the U.S. Centers For Disease Control (CDC) has concluded that light to moderate drinking poses no neurological health risks to developing babies. However, a variety of risks to the children were present in women who drank heavily while pregnant.
Danish Researchers Claim in Moderation Alcohol is Fine While Pregnant
The Danish study examined the drinking patterns of over 1600 women and their children. Unlike past studies on this topic the women were asked to report their alcohol consumption periodically during their pregnancy, while other research had women recall after giving birth. The data is therefore less likely to be flawed by inaccurate memory. The study deemed the scale of drinking as follows:
· Light-1-4 alcoholic beverages/week
· Moderate- 5-8 alcoholic beverages/week
· Heavy- 9 or more alcoholic beverages/week
After analyzing the pertinent health information, the research team found the children of heavy drinkers suffered from shorter attention spans and a five-fold increased risk of having a lower IQ by the age of 5.
Critics Say the Results of the Danish Study Send a Dangerous Message
The amount of alcohol in one drink for the study was 12 grams as opposed to a standard size in America of 14grams. That means the women in Denmark would be drinking one-sixth less alcohol by volume, an amount researchers say is negligible in the grand scheme of things. Nevertheless, the awareness of portion should be emphasized by this study as many bars and restaurants have far more than one shot of alcohol per drink. Women could easily surpass into the “heavy” drinking zone without realizing it if they simply count the number of drinks they consume. Critics worry about unsafe scenarios arising from this study such as:
· Women underestimating the frequency/quantity of alcohol they drink
· Some women may not acknowledge the amount of alcohol consumed
· Those with alcoholism may use the results to justify “moderate” drinking that they are unable to stick to
In the end, this is just one study and no safe level of alcohol during pregnancy has been able to be established across the board. This is why the CDC recommendation of abstinence from alcohol while pregnant will not change even in light of these new results.
Do you think moderation or abstinence from alcohol is best while pregnant? Let us know below.