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Can Pregnant Women Drink Wine?


First Trimester


Dr. Christina Chambers of the University of California, San Diego, conducted a study of 992 pregnant women during the first trimester, who consumed alcohol. Some of the women were heavy drinkers and others drank in moderation, but all drank before and during their first trimester.


This is one of the few studies that have ever been conducted on this subject. Chambers’ determination from the study was that only during the second half of the first trimester is a fetus 25 percent more likely to be born with facial abnormalities if the mother is consuming alcohol. Chambers went on to say that every woman is different, one woman could drink a six-pack of beer every day and her baby would have no adverse affects, there are a multitude of factors that need to be researched, almost too many to accurately determine if it is safe for a woman to drink in her first trimester. One thing is certain; drinking in the second half of the first trimester serves as the highest risk period for the fetus.


Second and Third Trimesters


You have made it past the first trimester; your doctor has relieved your anxiety by letting you know that it should be smooth sailing from here. He also mentions that going home and relaxing with an occasional, small glass of wine can help ease pregnancy tension. Seeing that your doctor is giving permission, it must be safe. Right? Not so fast. The Surgeon General states that any amount of alcohol consumed during pregnancy, at any stage, can have detrimental effects on an unborn baby. So, when a doctor tells you that it is ok to have an occasional glass of wine, he is taking into account your overall health and the current health of your unborn child, your medical history and his own personal experience of caring for pregnant women over the years. Your doctor does not know if you will harm your unborn baby. Never in medical history has there been a study conducted that establishes a safe level of drinking during pregnancy.


Fetal Alcohol Syndrome


At the University of Washington in 2012, researcher Dr. Susan Astley developed a standard which would help in making a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) at birth with 95 percent accuracy. The physical traits of the newborn must be examined by a specialist called a dysmorphologist. The traits are often very slight physical malformations including, a shallow or smooth depression under the nose, a noticeable thinner upper lip and small or narrow eyes.


Dr. Haruna Sawada, a research scientist at UCSD, California, began studying the results of the Feldman Study, California, which tracked the development of 992 children born to light and heavy drinkers from the years 1978 to 2005. Alcohol intake was examined at various levels in order to better know how wine may impact the baby at various stages throughout a pregnancy. By using Dr. Astley’s standard for determining FAS, four of the 992 children were diagnosed with FAS. Since the Feldman study did not include a control group of non-drinking mothers and therefore nothing to compare the results with, researchers and scientists must get back to the lab and begin again.


Perhaps, a good start would be to get one group of drinking mothers and one group of non-drinking mothers and track the pregnancies as well as the babies all the way through adolescents. Maybe some kind of concrete data would result from it. At this time, no information can be found about current studies being done to help in diagnosing FAS. For right now pregnant women must adhere to the advice of their doctor, their own instincts, current general research and you could always flip a coin.


Is it safe to drink wine during pregnancy, is a question not easily answered. There is no scientific evidence stating that one or two glasses of wine during a pregnancy will definitely harm your unborn baby. However, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) women who consumed alcohol heavily before pregnancy and during the gestation period can potentially suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies, damage to internal organs, and depression. Consequently, the fetus could develop with physical defects, have a low birth weight, hyperactivity and decreased attention span. This information is not a scientific finding and is only referred to as theory.

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Can Pregnant Women Drink Wine