Is Moderate Drinking While Pregnant OK?

cheese and two glasses of wine

Woah, a study just published in the British Medical Journal suggests that it may not be harmful to have a little bit of alcohol during pregnancy. Holla!

Er, just kidding. Wine, who likes wine? Especially a crisp, summery white that’s icy cold and served with freshly grilled salmon on a hot day? OK, me. But sadly this study doesn’t mean all us pregnant ladies should go out and start knocking them back.

According to one nice summary, the study looked at “…data from almost 7,000 10-year-olds and their moms. The kids underwent a 20-minute balance assessment — walking across a balance beam, standing still, walking heel-to-toe, balancing on the beam with eyes closed, and standing on one leg. Research has shown that the ability to balance is a strong indicator of prenatal neurodevelopment.”

Ten years earlier, the pregnant moms in the study filled out questionnaires about their drinking habits. And overall, the results showed that kids whose moms drank moderately while pregnant (three to seven glasses a week), had no problems balancing, which the researchers extrapolate to mean that there were no neurological problems.

But the study didn’t seem to survey other indicators of fetal alcohol syndrome—low birth weight, prematurity, etc. Which means that even though I have had a few sips of wine in my second trimester and may have a few more before the baby is in my arms, I’m mostly putting my fantasy wine back in my imaginary fridge. Not because I think a daily glass is likely to harm my fetus, but because I just don’t know. And neither does anyone else, really.