Friday, June 3, 2011

Alcohol and Pregnancy

So to answer one of Meagans questions on the last post, let's talk about alcohol for a minute. Currently, the guidelines regarding alcohol in pregnancy are do not drink. Period. The reason is that we really do not know what amount of alcohol causes birth defects or developmental/behavioral problems later in childhood. Most of the literature suggests that hard alchohol consumption on a daily basis is the major contributing factor to fetal alcohol syndrome. However, it is difficult to do research on such a subject because no woman wants to drink regular amounts of heavy or lighter alcohol to find out later what the effects are. Further, many women probably deny or lie about any amounts they are consuming and thus would scew results. As for the question regarding wine... there are countries I've read about in Europe where pregnant women do drink 4-8 oz of wine with dinner at least a few times/week and do not have children with problems (that we know of). Thus, we believe that it likely would take heavier more regular consumption of alcohol to cause major problems. The problem is we just don't know the magic amount of alcohol that would be a problem or wouldn't be. I still believe wine is a little bit of a heavier alcohol...not like vodka or everclear, but not as low as beer. Most wine still contains 11-18% alcohol which may be enough to be problematic for a fetus especially if consumption is daily. I doubt occasional wine intake would contribute to many problems, but I can't say for sure. I think if you were going to drink something occasionally, I'd pick beer or a wine cooler because the alcohol amount is so much less. That being said, the real answer we no of for now, is no alcohol at all. That way, you don't have to wonder later if what you consumed contributed to some problem in your child should some issue arise.