On a recent episode of “How I Met Your Mother” Lily announces that her doctor says it’s OK for her to have “just a little bit” of alcohol and sushi while she’s pregnant. (See part of the scene above apparently pulled from French TV.)
The scene is funny because sooo many women say the same thing. It’s only one drink or it’s late in my pregnancy. One drink won’t hurt the baby.
Well, now some doctors are leaning away from the “just a little bit” plan and are going even further to say that women who even have the possibility of getting pregnant shouldn’t be drinking either.
“The end of the first trimester appears to be the period when alcohol can wreak the most havoc on fetal development, causing physical deformities as well as behavioral and cognitive symptoms, according to research in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.”
“According to the March of Dimes, about 1 in 12 women admit to drinking during pregnancy, and 1 in 30 say they binge-drink, or consume five or more drinks at one sitting. Exposure to alcohol in utero leads to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in about 40,000 newborns every year in the U.S. While adults can break down alcohol relatively safely, still-developing fetuses tend to keep more alcohol in their blood, which can hinder the development of brain and body.”…
“While the data reinforce current guidelines that expectant moms avoid alcohol, it’s particularly difficult for those in the first days of pregnancy, especially since 50% of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. That means most women may not even become aware they are pregnant until the middle or end of the first trimester….”
“The authors agree, writing that:
“ ‘Based on our findings, there is no safe threshold for alcohol consumption during pregnancy with respect to selected alcohol-related physical features. Women who are of childbearing age and who are contemplating or at risk of becoming pregnant should be encouraged to avoid drinking, and women who are pregnant should abstain from alcohol throughout pregnancy.’ ”
That is much tougher language and warning than I ever heard during my three pregnancies. I don’t really remember drinking during any of my pregnancies. I do remember with one of the pregnancies – and I can’t remember which one – telling the midwife that I had drank before I knew I was pregnant and she said don’t worry about it. I guess I knew I was pregnant in the first two weeks of pregnancy not a month along.
I do remember being shocked watching a very pregnant friend down margaritas and she just kept telling us she was almost to delivery so it didn’t matter.
What do you think of this new stronger warning to women NOT to drink at all if they are pregnant or if they have the possibility of getting pregnant? I think that part is going to be a tough one to sell. Did you drink at all while you were pregnant? What about before you knew? What advice did your doctor give on drinking?