New Reports Claim Any Alcohol is Too Much for Pregnant Women

By Emily Murray

Depending on what decade you grew up in, you likely heard differing reports when it came to how much alcohol was “too much” for women who were expecting. We have long since known about complications like fetal alcohol syndrome, low birth weight and learning disabilities that are correlated with mothers who drink while pregnant, but most of us have heard that the occasional glass of wine (one or two glasses a week), especially in the beginning stages of pregnancy won’t harm the baby. New evidence however seems to point out that any amount of alcohol can actually negatively impact the unborn baby.

In fact, this type of moderate drinking is now being hailed as the reason that some babies are born with lower IQs later in childhood. While this has been one of the age old questions, previous studies have faltered since so many factors go in to pregnancy that it’s hard to pinpoint just one behavior or stimulus if something goes wrong. These recent findings however were recently published in PLOS One journal and were able to rule out any genetic influence of social or lifestyle in the research findings.

The study was able to track that there are 4 genetic variants in alcohol metabolizing genes in moms and babies that were related very closer to a lower IQ in 8-year-olds.

These variations in genetic makeup accounted for roughly 2 fewer IQ points each and were seen in those children whose mothers drank during weeks one through six of pregnancy.

The study researcher Dr Ron Gray, from Oxford University commented on the study noting that perhaps the effects sound insignificant but when you look at the basic facts that those with lower IQs typically experience more disadvantages in life including earlier death, lower social status and general poor health, it becomes an even bigger deal. If you could help prevent these things from happening to your child, to the best of your abilities, would you?

It seems most would naturally answer yes. So why then do we still see women drinking while pregnant? Is it ignorance or in some cases it is addiction? How much is too much?

It seems in the wake of this study, even having a glass of wine isn’t worth the potential for these unwanted side effects. Of course, it is the woman’s decision whether she wishes to drink or not and there is no law prohibiting a mother-to-be from drinking but may health professionals strongly discourage it. When the baby is developing, alcohol can greatly impact the formation of organs and other important parts of the growth process.