Drinking During Pregnancy: What are Its Effects?

Moderate drinking during pregnancy. That’s an important subject.

Yet emotion tends to run high. At the same time, people generally have few facts.


I.   Research Study

II.  Emotional Subject

III. Major Problem

IV.  Resources

I. Research Study

drinking during pregnancyTo learn more, doctors studied 4,496 women. They followed the women throughout their pregnancies and after the birth of their children.

The researchers focused on low to moderate drinking during pregnancy. The first trimester (three months) of pregnancy is crucial. Such drinkers had a large reduced risk of having an infant with low birth weight. They also had a lower risk of bearing an infant of shorter length or smaller head.

Some women were low to moderate drinkers during the third trimester of pregnancy. They had a greatly reduced risk of bearing a preterm infant.

It appears that low or moderate drinking during pregnancy (first and third trimester) does not lead to problems. That is, to greater risk of low birth weight, pre-birth growth problems, or premature birth.

II. Emotional Subject

People are very emotional about the subject of drinking during pregnancy. Some have panicked after having eaten wine vinegar on a salad. (Of course, wine vinegar has no alcohol.) Servers have refused to let pregnant women order a glass of wine with meals. These fears are not rational.

The medical research does not support such actions. Most women choose not to drink during pregnancy. Of those who do, most drink little and not very often.

III. Major Problem

A small number of women tend to have most of the problems caused by drinking during pregnancy. They are usually alcohol abusers or alcoholics. Many are drug addicts. They don’t get medical care. They have other problems. And they continue to drink much too much alcohol. That seriously endangers their unborn. They may get FAS or other problems.

Drinking During PregnancyWomen who choose to have a drink can do so knowing that it is consistent with medical research evidence. But it is possible that moderate drinking during pregnancy might cause some yet unknown harm. Therefore, the most cautious choice is no drinking during pregnancy.

In the US, moderate drinking for a woman is no more than one drink per day. It can be beer, wine, or distilled spirits (liquor).

To drink or not while expecting. It’s always good to talk with a doctor about such decisions.

Drinking During Pregnancy

IV. Resources