facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Is Drinking While Pregnant Safer Than We Thought?

Kids' brains seem unaffected—but experts still recommend that moms-to-be don't drink.

Image: 

Still not recommended Photo via

By Ariel Nagi

06/20/12

| Share

Drinking low-to-moderate amounts of alcohol during pregnancy may not have any developmental effects on children five years later, according to a new Danish study. Researchers tested the children of 1,600 women with different drinking habits during pregnancy: either no booze at all, or one-to-four, five-to-eight, or nine-plus drinks per week. The kids whose moms drank up to eight drinks weekly performed no worse on tests for IQ, attention span and executive functions like organization and planning. But the kids whose moms drank nine drinks plus per week did have lower attention spans. Despite these results, the study's authors—and doctors—still advise that women abstain from alcohol completely during pregnancy. Other studies still show that women who drink heavily during pregnancy increase their chances of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: a baby's body takes longer to break down alcohol, which therefore lingers in the bloodstream. And there's still inadequate evidence on the effects of low-to-moderate drinking on a fetus: "No one study takes into account the myriad of relevant factors such as maternal drinking pattern, differences in maternal metabolism, differences in genetic susceptibility, timing of the alcohol consumption during pregnancy, and variation in the vulnerability of different brain regions," says Dr. Hyagriv Simhan, associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. "Furthermore, this study addresses outcomes at age five, but not later in childhood, and it's possible that effects may be identifiable later on but not noticed by age five." The best advice? Better safe than sorry.

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
A Man—With an Eating Disorder

When I tell people I have an eating disorder, I get surprise, sympathy, empathy and laughing-shock: "Men can have eating disorders?”

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu
 
 
 
 

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery
 
 
 
 

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center
 
 
 
 

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 

Reflections
 
 
 
 

This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab
 
 
 
 
 

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv