Drinking during pregnancy: Is it really OK?

Recent study says moderate drinking during pregnancy could be safe

WRITTEN BY: Sara Hall
Drinking during pregnancy could be considered safe -- as long as it's done in moderation, a recent study says.
Image Source: Andrew Vargas via Wikimedia Commons
Drinking during pregnancy could be considered safe -- as long as it's done in moderation, a recent study says.

Drinking while pregnant – could it actually be OK?

According to a recent study, it could be, as long as it is done in moderation.

While the idea of drinking during pregnancy usually shocks people and is considered taboo, a new study from Denmark is saying otherwise.

The study is reporting 5-year-old children whose mothers drank low to moderate levels of alcohol during early pregnancy showed no negative effects.

The level for low to moderate alcohol consumption as deemed by the study is said to be between one and eight drinks per week.

Any drinking during pregnancy that exceeded the study’s standard of moderate alcohol consumption was, however, associated with negative health effects, mainly a lower attention span.

Still, experts who examined the research say they’re not about to change the current recommendations for drinking during pregnancy.

Still, health professionals aren’t convinced drinking during pregnancy is actually acceptable.

Dr. Jacquelyn Bertrand, a child psychologist and senior scientist at the Centers for Disease Control, reacted negatively to the news, saying in an interview with the New York Daily News that, "It's not worth the risk." 

The study analyzed gathered data from more than 1,600 women in the Danish National Birth Cohort.

They ranked the levels of drinking during pregnancy into three categories: low (one to four drinks each week), moderate (five to eight drinks) and high (nine of more drinks). Binge drinking was also included and was defined as having five or more drinks during a single occasion.

To assess the effects of drinking during pregnancy, the women’s children underwent tests at age 5 to assess their thinking skills, IQ and attention spans.

The study showed low to moderate drinking during pregnancy, including binge drinking, had no significant effect on brain development in the children.

High levels of drinking during pregnancy, however, did show negative effects in the aforementioned testing areas.

The study on drinking during pregnancy was published on June 20 in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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