A Drink a Day May Keep a Bad Baby Away?

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Women who were light to moderate drinkers early in pregnancy were more likely to raise children with more positive behaviors, Reuters Health reports, citing a study by researchers from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in West Perth, Western Australia. The study defined light to moderate drinking as the consumption of two to six drinks per week, or one a day.

ACSH s Jeff Stier aptly points out that the precautionary principle can be applied to these research findings to justify light drinking during early pregnancy. Instead of reading Does light drinking in pregnancy have benefits? , a corollary headline should ask Does abstinence cause bad behavior? Perhaps then pregnant women would become afraid of not drinking. He adds, Despite this, the science regarding whether you should or shouldn t drink lightly during pregnancy is weak, although heavy alcohol consumption during pregnancy should be avoided since it has been proven to cause severe damage to the unborn child.

ACSH s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan believes this latest finding will assuage pop culture notions that light alcohol consumption during pregnancy is catastrophic. This makes me feel like I am in Woody Allen s movie Sleepers. It s like I just woke up in 2020, and everything I thought I knew in 2000 about the dangers of alcohol intake during pregnancy has shown to be wrong. Dr. Whelan adds, It s been droned into our heads that any drinking during pregnancy is disastrous but that s not always true and, worse yet, women who are pregnant and are seen with a drink in their hand are ostracized as child abusers.

Antipathy toward alcohol ingestion during pregnancy is so entrenched in pop culture that when a female passes up a drink in a movie, everyone thinks she must be pregnant, says ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross. It s like a biomarker.