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Drinking During Pregnancy Is Just Not Worth The Risk

CBS News recently featured the article “Moderate drinking during pregnancy may not affect child’s neurodevelopment”.  After reading the article however, I wish the title were in fact one of the concluding statements in the article “Drinking during pregnancy is just not worth the risk.”

When I saw the title, the immediate thought I had was “Why?”  Why.  I just can’t understand why anyone would volunteer to be a part of this study and furthermore, I can’t understand why disproving the belief that there are negative consequences of consuming alcohol during pregnancy is so important.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love a glass of wine or alcoholic beverage.  But, with both children, the moment I discovered I was pregnant, I stopped.  Immediately.  Why?  Why wouldn’t I?  It’s only 9 months.  And think about it, the reason why people consume an alcoholic drink (vs. a glass of milk for example) is because it has a physical effect of some sort.  Does anyone really believe that the effect doesn’t trickle down to the life growing inside?

In this study, 1600 women, volunteered to put their babies at risk (in my opinion). The article said their prenatal doctors recruited them to the study which in some cases involved low to moderate drinking over 17 weeks of pregnancy and for others they also partook in binge drinking at least once.  First, shame on their doctors.  My father is an OBGYN and he would never “recruit” a patient to participate in something that “might” put a mother’s baby at harm.  As if there aren’t enough potential things that can go wrong during a pregnancy.  Why recruit a patient to increase their chances of something negative happening during their pregnancy or after their child is born?  And why agree to participate?  Is that one glass of wine REALLY worth it?  (Or in this study, the 17-68 drinks for the low to moderate drinkers?)

It bothers me that the CDC funded the study especially when the article goes on to say “The CDC urges pregnant women not to drink alcohol at any time during pregnancy and says there is no known safe amount or safe kind of alcohol.”  If this is the case, and they truly believe this, why would the CDC even fund a study of this nature?  I think there are many women who like me believe it’s just not worth the risk but there are others who are on the fence and studies like these (especially articles with this title) give them permission to go ahead and drink while they are pregnant.  The reality is when you are pregnant, you are immediately responsible for another human being.  Act appropriately or don’t take on the responsibility in the first place.

For those of who may just read the title, I also want to point out that Dr. Jacquelyn Bertrand, who co-authored three of the studies, indicated that this “was one particular set of women in one particular place, and the studies did not look at other potential health effects in a child whose mother drank during pregnancy.”  They were only looking at the impact on the child’s neurodevelopment around age 5.  They weren’t studying any other negative side effects of drinking.    Frankly, if you’re going to recruit women to drink during pregnancy, at least study more than just the child’s neurodevelopment at age 5.  Perhaps maybe the results would then portray a more accurate picture of the negative impacts alcohol has on a fetus.

One comment

  1. Jennifer June 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    “The reality is when you are pregnant, you are immediately responsible for another human being. Act appropriately or don’t take on the responsibility in the first place.”

    THANK YOU for stating this. I have not yet read this article, but the title of it alone is appalling. Like you said, there is nothing wrong with an occasional drink by a responsible adult. But, c’mon — how on EARTH can anyone trust the validity of a study done by women who were willing to put their children at any risk for the sake of the study in the first place? This is simply ridiculous. Like you said, when you are pregnant (and therefore become a parent), your number one priority in life should be the safety and well-being of your child. That most certainly should NOT include volunteering to find out just how much drinking your body can safely tolerate while you are pregnant … when the main possible negative side effect would be ANY type of harm to your unborn child. Would you be willing to put your child of any age (including unborn) in a car with someone who was drinking just to find out how many drinks someone could have before they were no longer able to drive safely? I surely would hope not. It seems so very selfish of the parents willing to participate in the study, and so very reckless of the doctors who approved it. 🙁

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