How Much Should A Pregnant Woman Drink

How Much Should A Pregnant Woman Drink – Last year, the CDC ignited a storm of criticism by saying that women should “refrain from drinking alcohol if they are trying to conceive or become pregnant,” and since an estimated 50 percent of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned, any woman should. those who drink alcohol should use contraceptives.

“[The CDC’s] underlying message was unequivocal: Women should first see themselves as human resources and make decisions about their health and behavior based on that potential,” Rebecca Ruiz wrote in a typical interview with Mashable magazine.

How Much Should A Pregnant Woman Drink

The (completely understandable) anger at the CDC’s tone-deaf and dismissive message has unfortunately drowned out knowledge about an important question for many pregnant women: Is there a good amount of alcohol to drink during pregnancy? And are there times when it should be avoided altogether?

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We all know that excessive alcohol consumption during pregnancy is harmful. Fetal alcohol syndrome, caused by excessive alcohol consumption during pregnancy, affects about 2 to 7 in 1,000 babies. Another 2 to 7% of US children. he is believed to have milder forms of cognitive impairment due to gastric alcoholism.

But what about a light drink, a champagne toast or a glass of wine with a meal? Women—pregnant, expectant, and otherwise—receive conflicting advice about the safety of moderate alcohol consumption.

Economist Emily Oster, in her best-selling pregnancy advice book Expecting Better, says pregnant women can get by with “1 to 2 drinks a week in the first trimester” and then one drink a day, which they continue to avoid.

Many doctors also light up the occasional drink, as Slate’s Ruth Graham says: “Many doctors seem perfectly fine with moderate alcohol consumption in late pregnancy.” When I told my doctor I was drinking a glass of wine a week in my third trimester, he didn’t look at me.

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“Any amount of drinking will put your child at risk,” said CDC Dr. Clark Denny. “You should not drink if you are pregnant, thinking about becoming pregnant, or even if you are at risk of becoming pregnant.”

Some countries like the UK and France, they used to give moderate advice – pregnant women shouldn’t drink more than 1-2 drinks a week – now they say there is no safe drinking and that pregnant women or those trying to get pregnant should stop altogether. .

At the heart of this debate is the research itself. So what do we really know about drinking less during pregnancy?

Does this mean that light drinking during pregnancy causes miscarriage? Unfortunately, we can’t say for sure. Experimental studies with humans are not possible, so there are many unknowns.

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First, some women may reduce their drinking during pregnancy, so an increase in pregnancy may shift from moderate to heavy drinking rather than light drinking.

Women who drink heavily during pregnancy are more likely to smoke or have their partners smoke, use drugs more often, receive more prenatal care, live in poverty, and experience chronic stress—all of which can increase the risk of miscarriage and cognitive problems. in their mind. children, and all these factors can increase the toxicity of alcohol to a child.

Poor diet and smoking appear to increase the effects of alcohol. This makes sense because alcohol reduces the amount of food that enters the uterus.

Women who drink alcohol in the first trimester may have less sensation. (I, for example, couldn’t go near alcohol in the first few months, as I could, after a long day of nausea and chasing a small child, I crave a drink.) Although about 25% of women do not feel nauseated. pregnancy, the absence of nausea is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, possibly because the pregnancy is not mature enough to cause few symptoms.

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2. Alcohol use can reduce the chance of pregnancy and increase the chance of miscarriage by causing chromosomal abnormalities in the egg before it arrives. Alcohol has been shown to interfere with meiosis, a key cell division step in the development of oocyte follicles, leading to abnormal eggs. Chromosomal abnormalities account for more than half of first-trimester miscarriages. It’s even worse because it takes several months for an egg to fully develop, even drinking months before conception can be harmful.

How much alcohol does it take to spoil eggs? Again, we don’t have a good answer. The extent of the damage can depend on many other factors, such as your age, your general personality, alcohol tolerance, the amount of alcohol, and the timing of consumption in relation to key stages of egg development.

Apparently even heavy drinkers still have chromosomally healthy pregnancies, so the results aren’t perfect. An increase in chromosomal abnormalities is likely to be more of a problem for couples who already suffer from fertility problems. For example, among couples undergoing IVF, drinking appears to reduce their chances of conceiving.

Because human data are limited, we have to turn to animal models. In one study using monkeys, the equivalent of alcohol (4-5 drinks per sitting) twice a week reduced the normal number of chromosomes in eggs and increased the chance of miscarriage.

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3. Alcohol reaches the developing baby only in the third week after conception or in the 4th week of pregnancy after several pregnancy tests. In other words, even if you get pregnant on your honeymoon, while you’re a little tipsy and sipping cocktails on the beach for the rest of the week, there’s nothing to worry about. That alcohol did not reach your child.

What about damage to the developing fetal brain? Here’s the problem: No one knows how much alcohol is harmful, and that limit can vary from person to person, just as alcohol tolerance and metabolism vary from person to person.

Drinking and occasional drinking is bad, but what about a glass of wine or a cocktail?

Emily Oster thinks the zero-drop policy proposed by the CDC and others is absurd, and it’s easy to see where she’s coming from. Many drugs are known to be harmful in large amounts and not completely safe in small amounts. as he says

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“If you have too many bananas (and I mean a lot of bananas), excess potassium can be a real problem, but no doctor says, ‘Bananas haven’t been proven safe!’ He would be laughed at at a meeting of doctors.”

But this argument, a version of Paracelsus’ principle—the dose producing the poison—depends on the poison in question. Some toxins, such as lead, are not safe at all.

We don’t know much about the exact threshold at which alcohol causes harm or when harm is most likely. But let’s review what we do know.

4. Until the third week of pregnancy (fifth week of pregnancy), alcohol and its products pass through the uterus. Based on animal studies, it is believed that the unborn child has the same blood alcohol level as the mother.

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5. Alcohol is a known neurotoxin. Although the exact cause of alcohol-induced damage is unclear, nerve damage or heavy alcohol consumption has been observed in animals and humans. Damage may be more pronounced in the developing brain, especially in the first trimester, when many of the facial shape changes in FAS seem to begin. Damage to slow-growing brain structures such as the cerebellum can occur during pregnancy.

6. Large epidemiological studies have not found cognitive impairment with light drinking (1-2 drinks per week) in the second and third trimesters and less than one drink per week on average in the first trimester. This research is the basis for Emily Oster’s claim that drinking a day during the second and third trimesters is good.

One of the largest studies on this is in the UK. The Millennium Cohort followed a nationally representative sample of 11,000 children born between 2000 and 2002. At ages 3, 5, and 7, both boys and girls whose mothers drank 1-2 drinks per week actually had better cognitive scores and fewer behavioral and attention problems than children whose mothers abstained from drinking during pregnancy. On the other hand, heavy alcohol consumption was associated with higher cognitive performance and other behavioral problems.

(The higher test scores among children of moderate drinkers are not because alcohol has helped them develop, but because women who drank less were more educated and had a higher socioeconomic status than poor women. Socioeconomic status is a major concern in interpreting the results of this study. study. Parental education, income, and the social status of both parents predict better cognitive functioning and fewer behavioral problems. So who’s to say that these children wouldn’t have benefited more if their mothers had resisted the pregnancy?)

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Other studies have found no effect on test scores or mental health at age 11 in children of mothers who drank less than 1 glass per week in the first trimester; no increase in mental health or behavioral problems in children who use alcohol at ages 2, 5, and 8 (but poorer mental health is seen in moderate, moderate, and heavy drinkers); and 14-year-old mothers have no cognitive, learning, or attention deficits

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