Posted: Mar 29, 2012 11:34 PM
Nine (really, ten) months is a looonnnggg time to go without a drink. But should moms-to-be really sip a glass of vino or a bottle of beer during pregnancy? allParenting goes bottom up to find out.

In vino veritas

The truth is that no one quite knows the total truth about whether or not there is a safe amount of light drinking during pregnancy that will not affect the baby. It is unknown how much alcohol it takes to cause birth defects in the fetus or why some are affected by moderate amounts of alcohol consumption by the mom and others are not.

For decades, research has been dedicated to pinpointing a "safe" amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. However, without a hard and fast answer, many doctors as well as the U.S. Surgeon General urges pregnant women to play it safe and abstain from alcohol completely during pregnancy.

Relax and wind down

So why do some doctors give their patients the OK to sip an occasional glass of wine or beer -- and should you go ahead and indulge? Some doctors feel that in the second and third trimester it is perfectly OK to have the occasional drink. However, each person is different and each mama to be needs to feel comfortable with her decision.

A glass of wine may help some expectant women to wind down so they can sleep better at night during the late and uncomfortable stages of pregnancy or it may help take the edge off the stress of anticipating a baby on the way. Never have a drink before consulting your physician who knows your personal medical history and can advise what's best for you when it comes to raising a glass during your pregnancy (or waiting until baby on the way arrives).

Heavy drinking = FAS

Please note that anything more than very occasional and very light drinking has been documented to cause serious damage to a developing fetus. Identified 30 years ago, heavy drinking while pregnant puts your baby at risk of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), which can lead to small birth weigh, poor growth and development, physical disfigurement, as well as learning and behavioral issues.

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