A leading authority puts the debate to remainder: No alcohol during pregnancy is safe.

Good news/ bad news for women who enjoy a glass of wine now and then and are planning to get pregnant.

Cheers! Or not. Photo by Megan Eaves/ Flickr.

First, the good news: After years of conflicting advice, we finally have some clear guidelines on whether it’s safe to devour any alcohol during pregnancy.

The bad news? You might want to re-cork that bottle and un-shake that martini because a new clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics( AAP) says that even an occasional beverage is no good.


But hey, let’s focus on the bright side. Those clear guidelines are super useful for expectant mothers and soon-to-be expectant mothers. The fact is, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are entirely preventable, and this report is ultimately giving us the clear info we need.

First, a quick definition: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders( FASD) are a group of of conditions that can result from alcohol exposure during pregnancy.

According to the National Institute of Health, the effects of FASD can include behavior and physical problems, such as trouble with the following:

– Learning and remembering
– Understanding and following directions
– Controlling emotions
– Communicating and socializing
– Daily life skills, such as feeding and bathing

For years, research, experts, and doctors couldn’t definitively agree on whether any quantity of alcohol could cause FASD.

Cheers? Maybe not … Photo via iStock.

In fact, just one year ago, a large-scale survey concluded that “moderate” drinking during pregnancy was OK. Today Parents reported on the study, which in fact found that “expectant mothers who drink reasonably have children with better mental health than children of mothers who abstain.”

But then, as it usually goes when the conversation turns to drinking during pregnancy, we got a conflicting opinion from none other than the co-author of the very survey that came to that conclusion.

“I actually think we should recommend abstaining[ from drinking] during pregnancy, ” told survey co-author Janni Niclasen, who was a post-doctoral student at the University of Copenhagen. “I actually believe that even a glass of wine now and again is actually damaging.”

You can see why we’d all be a little confounded … until this week, when the AAP described a clear, hard line in the sand.

Photo by J.K. Califf/ Flickr.

No ambiguity here. They named “prenatal exposure to alcohol as the leading preventable cause of birth defects and intellectual and neurodevelopmental disabilities in children.”

The clinical report was published in the November issue of Pediatrics, and the abstract contained clear-cut information:

“During pregnancy:
– no quantity of alcohol uptake should be considered safe;
– there is no safe trimester to drink alcohol;
– all manner of alcohol, such as beer, wine, and alcohol, pose similar danger; and
– binge drinking poses dose-related danger to the developing fetus.”

The AAP also shared the increased odds of having a baby with FASD:

Compared with devouring no alcohol, drinking during first trimester increased the odds by 12 days. Drinking during the first and second trimester increased the odds by 61 days. Drinking during all three trimesters increased the odds by 65 days.

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