Wine And Pregnancy
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Common knowledge indicates that all things, including wine, in moderation are safe or would do little harm. There is no established evidence that absolutely shows alcohol to be harmful in tiny amounts, but there is also no solid evidence that there are safe levels during pregnancy.
With the evidence in place to show that alcohol does have damaging effects in larger amounts during pregnancy, most health-care providers avoid making any recommendations in this area.
Maybe you are thinking: What if a wine lover gets pregnant?
Recent studies indicate that three ounces of an alcoholic drink each day during a pregnancy can initiate behavioral problems and growth retardation! These particular studies don’t mention differences between types of alcoholic beverages.
But they do mention problems with two or more drinks in a day’s time. Experts in the medical field feel that this might not be safe for pregnant women, even in relatively small amounts.
General warning on ALL alcoholic drinks
All of this taken together has led to the well-known “Surgeon General” warning on all alcoholic drinks, including wine. This warning mentions birth defects in general and, again, does not differentiate between beer, hard liquor and wine.
Some medical personnel and activists decry the “scare tactics” that have been in the media for decades, arguing that there is no evidence that conclusively shows moderate drinking to be harmful to a human fetus.
Most of the information that argues for some safe level of alcohol during pregnancy includes a call for a thorough examination of existing evidence, in addition to new research. For example, one study shows that moderate alcohol use during pregnancy leads to a fraction of a percent of fetal problems.
Studies conducted at various universities and research facilities in the mid-1990s indicate that a glass of wine per day is not a threat to the mother or the fetus. Some articles in medical and wine-related publications have even mentioned the possibility that a small amount of wine each day might actually be beneficial once the child begins to develop fully.
Two or three of these studies indicate that moderate alcohol use (such as a glass of wine each day) actually resulted in fewer stillbirths and fewer losses of fetus/miscarriage.
Amount of wine
As for the specific amount of wine, as opposed to other alcoholic drinks, the “cutoff” point seems to be one, maybe two, glasses daily. When pregnant women drank three, four or more glasses there were significant reductions in weight at birth and in some other size/length measurements.
Problems sometimes arise when the people who design the studies define two glasses of wine as “heavy drinking.” In fact, some who believe that moderate amounts of wine aren’t harmful argue that conservative political and religious groups have presented research results specifically for the purpose of scaring women so they won’t drink at all.
It’s interesting to note that a book entitled "The Myths of Motherhood" (Shary Turner) lists many other food items, prescription drugs and personal grooming items that pose as much of a problem for pregnancy as a small amount of wine. She lists suntan lotion, caffeine and even chocolate as presenting significant problems.
Wine and pregnancy - Bottom line
No one argues with the idea that larger amounts of alcohol can have serious implications during pregnancy. As for a small amount of wine – the jury is still out. Best thing? Forget about wine during this important time. Wine and pregnancy might not be the best combintion. Remember, it's your child...
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