Study OK’ing Alcohol During Pregnancy Riles Advocates
A new study suggesting that moderate drinking during pregnancy may be safe is drawing strong rebuke from disability advocates who say it puts kids at unnecessary risk for lifelong impairments.
Danish researchers reported Thursday that in a study of over 1,600 children they found no difference in IQ, attention span or executive functioning at age 5 between those whose mothers drank one to eight drinks per week during early pregnancy and kids whose mothers did not drink at all.
The findings, they said, should put moms who drank before learning they were pregnant at ease.
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However, disability advocates say they are concerned that the research published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology could have negative consequences.
“Unfortunately, studies like this serve to minimize alcohol’s severe effects on an unborn baby, placing doubt in the minds of mothers about the actual risk of drinking while pregnant,” read a statement from The Arc, which advocates for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
Individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders — which are caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy — can experience a variety of lifelong issues ranging from behavioral problems and speech delays to intellectual disability, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Why put your baby at risk? Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are 100 percent preventable if mothers abstain from drinking during pregnancy,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.