Picture this: a guy sitting around a table with three pregnant women having drinks. That was the scene recounted to me once by an internist about his wife, an obstetrician, and two of her OB/GYN colleagues while they attended a medical convention. He told me that the doctors considered drinking in moderation was safe. They just couldn’t really tell patients that because some would abuse it and, of course, liability concerns.
This perspective on drinking while pregnant got some recent validation. The researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark collected data from 1,600 pregnant women and their babies up to five years old. Their studies indicate that drinking one to eight (!) servings of alcohol a week during pregnancy, even in the early stages, showed no IQ differences in the children than group of mothers who abstained from alcohol. Even binge drinking didn’t have an impact, surprisingly. The babies from mothers who consumed over nine drinks a week showed lower attention spans.
Pregnancy is a tricky thing and many women would want to err on the side of caution; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which partially funded the studies, still recommends that Americans abstain from alcohol during pregnancy. Even French wine labels now bear an image warning against drinking while pregnant. But I guess everything worked out okay for Rachel Weisz, who spoke out for moderate drinking during her pregnancy and sparked an uproar, especially now that she’s Mrs. Daniel Craig!