The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released new guidelines stating that no amount of alcohol is safe to consume during pregnancy. According to Larry G. Dennis, M.D., a maternal fetal medicine specialist at Carilion Clinic, although most OB/GYNS in the U.S. have been telling their patients to avoid any alcohol during pregnancy for some time there is still a lot of conflicting information about alcohol and pregnancy.
“You might have a friend who drank occasionally during pregnancy and the child was ok, so you think it will be ok for you too, but there are no studies that show that any level of alcohol is safe during pregnancy,” he said.
Prenatal exposure to alcohol can damage the developing fetus and is the leading preventable cause of birth defects and intellectual and neurodevelopmental disabilities. Dr. Dennis noted that these defects and developmental disabilities can lead to lifelong struggles with behavior, academic performance, language skills, attention, cognition, memory and visual and motor development.
“No type of alcohol is safe to consume during pregnancy and there is no time during pregnancy that it is ok to drink,” Dr. Dennis explained. “Our recommendations are and have been for quite a while to not drink any alcohol during pregnancy. It is simply not healthy for your baby.”
“If you are thinking about getting pregnant and you are not using contraception, you should stop drinking,” he added.
If you have questions about ensuring a healthy pregnancy, talk to your OB/GYN.