Can You Drink Wine During Pregnancy

Is it safe to drink wine while pregnant?

Guidance from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) as well as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is clear — no amount of alcohol is considered safe during pregnancy.

This guidance is based on research showing an increased risk of birth defects and developmental disabilities in babies whose mothers drank during pregnancy.

A 2013 review found that any amount of alcohol may put a baby at risk of developmental challenges — but this risk may increase the more a pregnant person drinks.

Because of this risk, Kimberly Langdon, MD, an OB-GYN with Medzino, a telehealth provider, strongly discourages heavy drinking, which is defined as daily consumption of more than two to three drinks.

But when it comes to sipping an occasional glass of wine during pregnancy, the science is less settled and more data is needed, says Samir Hage, DO, an OB-GYN with Redlands Community Hospital. Some studies suggest light drinking during pregnancy may not be all that harmful:

  • A 2012 study found no meaningful difference between the executive functioning of five-year-olds whose mothers drank moderately during pregnancy and those who didnt. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines moderate drinking as one drink a day or less for women.
  • Another large 2013 study of almost 7,000 ten-year-olds found no evidence of adverse effects among children whose mothers drank seven or fewer drinks a week during pregnancy.
  • However, this doesnt mean light drinking during pregnancy poses no risk. Alcohol is still a drug that can harm both the pregnant person and the fetus when consumed in any quantity, says Matthew Fore, MD, an OB-GYN with Providence St. Joseph Hospital.

    Fore says that while “[these] are interesting concepts and studies,” “mountains of evidence that point to the risks associated with drinking during pregnancy” cannot be refuted or overturned by a single study.

    Hage says that while there isn’t enough information to draw firm conclusions about moderate alcohol consumption during pregnancy, the best course of action is to simply abstain from it.

    Participants in focus groups ranged in age from 23 to 40. There were 21 participants in total: 8 pregnant women (gestation 13 to 38 weeks), 9 new mothers (newborns aged 4 to 20 weeks), and 4 partners of expectant mothers. Eighty-one percent of the sample participants were female. The majority of participants were Caucasian (95%), with one woman of Asian descent (5%) Two participants were from New Zealand (10%) while the rest were Australian (90%)

    The main concept that emerged under the heading of social influences was that all women who were visibly pregnant or had previously given birth felt strongly that drinking was stigmatized and under social pressure. According to reports, women felt judged most frequently by strangers or individuals who were unfamiliar with the situation.

    The results of this study support the need to enhance the accuracy and consistency of information provided to expectant women about alcohol consumption as well as the interaction between these women and their medical professionals. It is obvious that messages that are consistent, supported by evidence, need to be spread and need to address widely held misconceptions, especially with regard to the amount and timing of fetal alcohol exposure. This study emphasizes the need for ongoing conversations about drinking while pregnant, which could be done as a standard component of usual clinical practice, such as taking blood pressure or monitoring the foetal heart rate at every appointment. Similarly, it is crucial to make sure that the NHMRC guidelines are followed and that all pregnant women are routinely assessed for alcohol consumption. According to prior studies, there may be significant obstacles that prevent health professionals from discussing alcohol consumption with pregnant women. Assumptions like “most women don’t drink much while pregnant” and “women already know not to drink” are among them, as are concerns like “alcohol is not on the list of priorities during the antenatal consultation,” “the burden of consultation is already enormous,” and “the perception that asking women about their alcohol consumption could appear judgmental and cause anxiety or guilt” [15]. In order to achieve routine assessment for alcohol consumption in pregnant women, it is imperative that obstacles like these be removed.

    This study also supports the value of group decision-making and the significance of families and partners in prenatal alcohol use. Despite greater knowledge and awareness of the harmful effects of drinking alcohol while pregnant, FASD prevalence does not appear to be declining globally. The inclusion of partners and families as well as a deeper comprehension of the societal factors that influence a woman’s drinking may therefore play a key role in addressing this significant health issue, even though women continue to be at the center of FASD prevention.

    This study found that Australian participants had a range of knowledge about alcohol consumption during pregnancy and experiences. The risk associated with consuming alcohol was found to be viewed differently by women and their partners, and their assessment of risk was hampered by conflicting advice and personal preferences. Women also frequently stated that they had not received specific guidance or information from healthcare professionals.

    How to avoid alcohol in pregnancy

    Since many women lose their taste for alcohol very early in pregnancy, quitting drinking completely during pregnancy may not be as challenging as you might think.

    When they become pregnant or know they will become pregnant, the majority of women do give up alcohol.

    Women who already drank in the early stages of pregnancy should refrain from doing so again.

    However, they shouldn’t worry excessively because the chances of their child being harmed are probably low.

    If youre concerned, talk to a midwife or doctor.

    Study: Women can drink while pregnant

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