drinkingpregnantTo drink or not to drink, that is the question. Actually, it’s not really such a major question since most women I know refrain from alcohol altogether while pregnant. Sure, there are those who will enjoy an ice cold beer during their final weeks. Or those who’ll nurse a quarter glass of wine on the odd occasion. But the general consensus is avoid at all costs. My own OB/GYN, an extremely competent yet laid back woman, was lax about caffeine, aspartame, even unpasteurized cheese – but alcohol was a definite no-no. Now a new study claims otherwise.

Danish researchers insist that low (one to five drinks per week) to moderate (five to eight drinks per week) alcohol consumption while pregnant will not harm your baby. They studied 5-year-old children – both those whose mothers had consumed up to eight alcoholic drinks per week while pregs and those who didn’t drink a drop. Turns out the former group did not have a higher risk of attention or IQ deficits than the latter group. (Nine or more drinks per week, however, led to an increased risk of attention problems.)

Of course, for every study like this one you’ll find dozens of others stating just the opposite (including other risks associated with drinking while pregnant, such as miscarriage). And this study in particular only looked at the effects on 5-year-olds vs. newborns or older children. Still, it’s some pretty surprising stuff. “Our findings show that low to moderate drinking is not associated with adverse effects on the children aged five,” said lead authors Schiøler Kesmodel of Aarhus University and Prof Erik Lykke Mortensen of the University of Copenhagen.

Most women, however, will still err on the side of caution. The truth is, I can’t imagine anyone using this one study as justification for having up to eight drinks per week. That said, many moms in North America do look towards Europeans; in France and Italy, for example, it’s not uncommon to seem a pregnant woman enjoying a glass of wine with dinner (guilt-free).

What do you think? To all those pregnant women out there, will these new findings influence your drinking pattern at all? And for all moms reading, did you indulge every now and then while pregs? Take our poll and weigh in below.

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