Pediatricians across the U.S. are begging women to stop drinking alcohol during pregnancy, according to a recent news story on CNN. The American Academy of Pediatricians is calling out- practically screaming out- to pregnant women everywhere. The message is clear: NO AMOUNT OF ALCOHOL is safe during pregnancy. None. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
Related: Can that Pre-Pregnancy Cocktail Cause Cancer Later?
Is Alcohol Really THAT Bad During Pregnancy?
Yes. At least the American Academy of Pediatricians says it is, along with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the CDC. Considering that these organizations are comprised of doctors with like a thousand years of collective experience, I think they’re pretty trustworthy. Their equivalent in almost every other country agrees. Italy and the UK are the exception. Those two countries tell women they shouldn’t drink, but should they choose to do so, to keep it to one drink once or twice a week. So if you happen to be in Rome, don’t do as the Romans do in this case.
I think by now we all know that binge drinking alcohol during pregnancy is a super bad idea. We’re smart people and it’s common sense. We even know that we shouldn’t indulge in that evening glass of wine with Sunday dinner. But what about that toast at a friend’s wedding? How about that occasional glass of wine at a holiday dinner? Is it really so bad? After all, studies are conflicted and generally based on binge-drinking behavior.
Again, yes, according to the AAP, it is that bad. There is no safe amount and no safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy. What if you DO decide to drink that glass of champagne at your friend’s wedding, and it happens to be the exact moment that some critical event is happening in your baby’s formation? Yes, it’s an unlikely scenario, but it’s still something to think about.
How about this scenario: you have a glass at a friend’s engagement party. Then her bridal shower. Then you tell yourself, you can’t NOT have a glass at her bachelorette party! And so on. Once you give yourself permission to drink one glass, you’re giving yourself permission to keep “cheating.” It’s human nature. “Just one” becomes “just one more.”
One last scenario. You have one drink. Really, just one. You feel guilty afterward, beat yourself up about it for the rest of your pregnancy. Your baby is born perfect, thank goodness! Five years later, he shows signs of a developmental disorder. The chances that it was due to that ONE glass are slim, but you can’t help but wonder, “did I do this?” The guilt eats you alive every day and you lose sleep at night. Do you really want to put yourself through that?
Repeat it again: there is no safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy. Don’t drink. Period. It’s nine months. Alcohol isn’t THAT fantastic that you can’t go nine months without. If you find that you really can’t go without, I suggest that you get help. I say that with concern, not with snark, because if you NEED alcohol, it’s a problem not just for your growing baby, but for you as well.
We all want our babies to have the very best start at life. That start begins long before they take their first breath. Abstaining from alcohol during pregnancy is one easy way we can help give them that best chance at a healthy life.
Do you have any opinions on drinking alcohol during pregnancy? Share them in the comments below.
12 thoughts on “Pediatricians Beg You to Stop Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy”
Ughh it drives me nuts that people think this is ok! When I was Preggo I was constantly having people offering me wine… And saying just this once etc…. Nope! I didn’t even drink caffeine!
I would never drink during pregnancy. Just no.
I didn’t even drink pop while I was pregnant. I was so worried that it’d have negative effects on my sweet baby.
Although I have trouble believing any study since they seem to get reversed a year or two down the line-I think NOT drinking while you are pregnant isn’t such a bad idea. I mean, really, why take the chance.
I can’t stand when I see people drinking while pregnant! You can never be to safe when it comes to having a baby!
I think the important thing here is what you already mentioned. Once we give ourselves permission its easy to say oh just one more time or one more drink. You’re right its only 9 months and its so important to make sure your baby has the best chance in life. Why risk it?
I’m really more of the opinion of doing everything possible to help your little one thrive. We know alcohol, caffeine, and sugar enter the blood stream and have an effect on our system. 9 months of creating the ultimate environment for a healthy baby isn’t too much to ask, I think. I know other cultures, specifically European are okay with small amounts of wine regularly and have been for years, and their babies are healthy – so I don’t necessarily think that that is the issue – but rather that once you start drinking here and there, will you realize how much you are actually consuming? Anyway, always food for thought and at the end of the day, listen to that little voice inside ;) Better safe, than sorry.
Women in Europe actually drink wine in moderation during their pregnancies. I never drank through any of my pregnancies, however.
We took it even a step further and gave up caffeine as well. Never can be too safe!
Despite there being proof or not… why risk it? Honestly, is there a moment in your life where you would be critically injured by abstaining from alcoholic drinks during the 9 months it takes to produce a hopefully healthy human being? Why chance making their life any more difficult than it will be by playing roulette with their development in the womb?
The CNN headline was a sensationalized version of the report, and this is an even more sensationalized retelling of the sensationalized retelling of the original. The AAP report included 9 studies that looked at volume of alcohol intake and affects on babies, and all 9 found that low alcohol intake during pregnancy has not been found to have negative impact. The recommendation for abstinence is because they do not have a safe guideline for consumption, and abstinence is absolutely the safest route to take. One glass of champagne is not going to cause FASD, though. That is 100% unfounded by a fairly large body of evidence, and frankly, I’m kind of disappointed in Our Family World for posting this hyperbolic, fear-mongering nonsense. You can post accurate information about drinking during pregnancy and encourage abstinence without just flat out making stuff up.
Thanks so much for your input! I’d like to address a few of your concerns. :) I did in fact say that the studies “are conflicted and generally based on binge-drinking behavior.” The AAP does actually say that any amount of alcohol during pregnancy isn’t safe, simply because they don’t know what level becomes harmful. Is it one drink? Perhaps not, which I reiterated above when I said that one drink causing problems was an unlikely scenario. I still don’t think it’s worth the chance. I’m sorry you viewed my thoughts as fear-mongering. That was certainly not my intention. I do stand by my opinion, though. There is no proven “safe” amount of alcohol during pregnancy. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!