Drinking while pregnant? New study with surprising findings

Medical professionals strongly disagree

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Whether to drink alcohol while pregnant may not even be a question for many woman. But a new study suggests that moderate drinking may not be as harmful as once thought. Many medical professionals, though, say two drinks per week may be two drinks too many.

Veronica Hirsch of Delray Beach saw a 3D image of her baby's face for the very first time on Friday. "It's amazing," she said, looking down at the photographs.

31 weeks pregnant now, Hirsch has been getting a lot of advice about the birth of her first child. "It's exciting. But it's also a little overwhelming," she said.

Now some more - and perhaps controversial - information comes in a new study from Denmark. The study found that expectant mothers who drink moderately may have children with better mental health than children of mothers who do not drink. Researchers looked at their emotions and relationships.

Hirsch has not had a sip during her pregnancy and does not plan to do so. "Not having alcohol wasn't a big thing for me," she said.

But questions and even temptations of drinking while pregnant are real, say medical experts.

"Wouldn't it be nice if this holiday season to have a drink and not having to worry about it if you're pregnant?," said Dr. Samuel Lederman of Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach.

Dr. Lederman says abstaining is the best way to avoid a high risk pregnancy. "Why take a chance, really, especially when the stakes are so high," he said.

37,000 woman and their children were surveyed between 1996 and 2002 for the study.

"I'm kind of like a sponge with it because there's so much information out there," said Hirsch.

But most doctors in the U.S. recommend avoiding alcohol. They say it the smartest and safest choice they can make for mother and baby.

"There's no one set way to do anything," said Hirsch. "There's no one set formula."


 

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