With the holidays in full swing, pregnant women want to toast to something too. I remember being pregnant and wanting so badly to partake in a nice glass of wine, but instead having to sip on non-alcoholic beverages while my friends got plastered. I was so scared my first time being pregnant that I followed all the rules and wouldn’t dare consider sipping on anything risky. Now studies are showing that alcohol in moderation is OK for mommy to be. What?! Why didn’t they tell me this then? It’s safe to say that this can be a confusing subject for pregnant women.
Some doctors recommend that you completely avoid alcohol when you’re expecting; others say that occasional light drinking is unlikely to harm your baby. Chances are your friends are divided on this, too. I know I have several girlfriends who drank on occasion while they were pregnant (don’t judge them please). Whatever the risks, many moms-to-be are choosing not to totally give up alcohol. A recent CDC study found that about one in eight pregnant women in the U.S. report drinking at least one alcoholic beverage in the past month.
Here’s what doctors say pregnant women should keep in mind when deciding whether to drink lightly or to steer clear of alcohol altogether.
“The problem with drinking alcohol during your pregnancy is that there is no amount that has been proven to be safe,” says Jacques Moritz, MD, director of gynecology at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York.
And he’s not alone, David Garry, DO, associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine agrees. He says that researchers don’t know enough about the potential effects of drinking alcohol at particular times during the pregnancy to be able to say that any time is really safe. It’s also difficult to predict the impact of drinking on any given pregnancy because some women have higher levels of the enzyme that breaks down alcohol.
“If a pregnant woman with low levels of this enzyme drinks, her baby may be more susceptible to harm because the alcohol may circulate in her body for a longer period of time,” Garry tells WebMD.
I’m not sure if this article made things better or worse for you if you’re pregnant and are on the fence about throwing one or two back this season. It’s a decision you have to make for yourself but I would suggest talking to your doctor at the very least. Mine told me to go for it!
Words by Sid Powell