The drinking during pregnancy debate has a bit of a paternalistic feel about it, to be sure — and experts, overwhelmingly male, are still largely against the practice even in moderation, they reiterate.
Earlier this week, a study on drinking during pregnancy out of Denmark published in esteemed medical journal BMJ seemed to indicate that moderate drinking — up to eight units of booze a week, per the study — was perfectly fine in pregnant women. And indeed, in less-puritanical Europe, you’re far more likely to spot a visibly pregnant woman supping sangria with her evening meal than you are, at say, an Olive Garden in Dearborn.
Which, we will dangerously speculate, is probably part of the reason drinking during pregnancy is such an enduring debate in America. While it is really hard to gather empirical data on the effects of drinking during pregnancy due to the risk to a fetus were a “safe level” to be teased out (as well as issues with self-reporting alcohol consumption), we do know that women in Europe tend to imbibe more than their American counterparts, in part because we’re so laced up about the issue.
But despite what evidence may suggest, American docs at least would like you to remember that they expressly frown upon drinking during pregnancy, due to the nature of the risks. While most moms would agree the outcomes don’t warrant risking a few glasses of bubbly during the brief nine months of being knocked up, it also kind of feels reflective of the dictatorial attitude with which pregnant women are handled in the US.
It’s not just males that regard the issue in “you’re not to be trusted” terms either — Dr. Allison Bryant is a maternal fetal medicine specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital. Boston.com quoted the expert, who said:
“We tend to have a nuanced conversation with women about caffeine during pregnancy — about the risk of miscarriage if they consume more than a certain amount,” said Bryant. “At this point, we can’t have that conversation with alcohol. We just tell women they should clearly avoid it altogether.”
On Twitter, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists echoed the sentiment, tweeting that the “jury may be out for researchers, but ACOG recommends that pregnant women avoid alcohol.”