A reader responds to our earlier note about the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome during early pregnancy:
I am one of the women who is offended by the CDC’s new guidance. Why? For one, the CDC statement reads as a Chicken Little “the sky is falling!” warning, when the limited studies that are available show that light drinking, even during the first trimester, is fine. Many many women don’t even learn that they are pregnant until end of the first trimester, or afterward, and go on to have healthy, happy babies. Not to mention the millions of babies born in the years when drinking and smoking during your entire pregnancy was considered normal, or the millions of children born in European countries where mothers drink wine throughout their pregnancies. Emily Oster, the author of Expecting Better, dives into many of these studies in her book.
On that note, Noah Berlatsky wrote a piece for us in March 2014 covering a recent study downplaying the conventional wisdom of total abstinence when it comes to drinking while pregnant. He also runs through some other Atlantic pieces via the following links, if you’re interested in further reading on the subject:
It’s well-established that binge-drinking or heavy drinking during pregnancy can cause serious developmental problems in children. However, there’s a good deal of controversy around moderate drinking. Some doctors recommend complete abstinence—and so do many helpful friends and strangers when pregnant women dare to lift a glass in public.