Top | Sift

The pregnancy and booze battles

(article, Culinate staff)

What to eat and drink — or not — during pregnancy is a matter of much contention and confusion. 

Last fall, a British study found an occasional correlation, depending on genetics, between alcohol consumption during pregnancy and lowered IQs in babies. 

But this spring, another British study announced that downing the occasional cocktail while pregnant didn't seem to cause developmental delays. 

Both studies used self-reported cohort studies to track alcohol consumption.

Because it's unethical to do a controlled scientific study on drinking during pregnancy — you can't randomly assign some pregnant women to imbibe a little, a lot, or none at all — it will always be difficult to declare a "safe" level of alcohol consumption. 

Doctors therefore err on the side of caution, telling women what they know is true: no alcohol at all during pregnancy is safe. And, of course, excessive alcohol consumption clearly causes the array of severe developmental problems known as fetal alcohol syndrome. But in between? Nobody really knows.