Alcohol and Pregnancy Advice in New Book is Flawed and Harmful

  • Post category:World News

A new book, Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong-and What You Really Need to Know, misrepresents the risk of alcohol use during pregnancy by concluding that light drinking is completely safe, according to the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS).

From PR Newswire

The book ignores research such as a 2011 study in Alcohol Research & Health that found drinking at low to moderate levels during pregnancy is associated with miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm delivery, and sudden infant death syndrome.

A 2012 study in International Journal of Epidemiology states, “Even low amounts of alcohol consumption during early pregnancy increased the risk of spontaneous abortion substantially.”

“Fortunately, not every pregnant woman who drinks alcohol will have a child adversely affected,” says NOFAS President Tom Donaldson. “If the book’s author, Emily Oster is willing to tolerate the risk, that’s her choice, but it’s irresponsible to encourage other pregnant women to take the risk with their children.”

Dr. Edward P. Riley, Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University and Director of the Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders added, “I find it amazing that Dr. Oster wants to take on the responsibility of assuring women that it is OK to have ‘A glass of wine or so a day’ while pregnant. She acknowledges that ‘all drinking isn’t created equal,’ but fails to recognize that all women are not created equal either. Individual genetics, drinking habits, and other factors limit science from making the sweeping assurances that Dr. Oster appears willing to endorse.”

The book contends, “It’s fine to have the occasional glass of wine – even one every day – in the second and third trimesters.”  This is not without risk says Dr. Michael Charness, Chief of Staff of VA Boston Healthcare System and a professor at Harvard Medical School and Boston University School of Medicine, “We’ve been able to show very striking effects of alcohol on the L1 cell adhesion molecule, a critical molecule for development, at concentrations of alcohol that a woman would have in her blood after just one drink.”

The U.S. Surgeon General, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and all professional medical associations advise pregnant women to avoid alcohol during pregnancy due to the risk of birth defects.