Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Drinking While Pregnant

At first I thought it was just a trend in San Francisco, but apparently, there is a shift in women defying the unctuous stares of others and ordering a glass of wine at dinner, having an after-work beer or uncorking the champagne while pregnant.

From what I've read in the past, the studies about drinking and fetal alcohol syndrome were only done on extreme drinking levels, so to be safe, doctors just said don't do it. It's like, a woman gets pregnant and her reason and ability to make sound judgements based on the information at hand leave with her expanded belly. (And apparently, her fashion sense. Have you seen some of the maternity wear out there? But let's no go there.) Like everything else, each woman who's pregnant has to decide what is an acceptable risk. In France, women are considered baby killers if they eat salad while pregnant. Drinking? That's fine.

The New York Times does a great job today with a piece in the Dining section about drinking and pregnancy. Here's a small excerpt of The Weighty Responsibility of Drinking for Two:

Little attention has been paid to pregnant women at the low end of the consumption spectrum because there isn’t a clear threat to public health there, according to Janet Golden, a history professor at Rutgers who has written about Americans’ changing attitudes toward drinking in pregnancy.

The research — and the public health concern — is focused on getting pregnant women who don’t regulate their intake to stop completely.

And the public seems to seriously doubt whether pregnant women can be trusted to make responsible decisions on their own.

“Strangers, and courts, will intervene with a pregnant woman when they would never dream of touching anyone else,” Ms. Golden said.


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