New warning: No alcohol, period, during pregnancy

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued new warnings that should become the final word on a somewhat controversial topic: No amount of alcohol is safe to consume while pregnant.

“The only guarantee of having no effects from alcohol is no prenatal alcohol exposure,” said Janet Williams, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Health Science Center and co-author of the new statement and report from the AAP.

She added that future research most likely will continue to show that “alcohol has subtle yet important lasting effects on academic performance, attention, behavior, cognition, memory, language skills, and visual and motor development.”

Some research over the last few years has failed to identify harm resulting from a small number of drinks per week during pregnancy. These studies, however, “do not conclude that alcohol use is safe,” Williams said. They only show “that in certain study populations under certain conditions, there is or is not sufficient evidence of effect that can be attributable to alcohol exposure.”

According to the report, alcohol use during pregnancy can cause thinking and behavioral problems that last a lifetime. “No amount of alcohol intake should be considered safe,” the report stated, and “there is no safe trimester to drink alcohol.” The report said that all forms of alcohol—beer, wine and liquor—pose similar risks.

Almost half of all women of childbearing age in the United States reported consuming alcohol within the past month, the researchers said, and nearly 8 percent of women continue to consume alcohol during pregnancy.

Don’t be one of them, for your baby’s sake and yours.

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