Drinking During Pregnancy

Nutritionist Maria Pari-Keener, MS, RD, answers the question, Is it okay to drink at all while I'm pregnant?

Question

I've heard that drinking a glass of wine once in a while when you're pregnant isn't harmful, but what about beer or hard liquor? Is it okay to imbibe now and then?

Answer

Because no amount of alcohol has been determined as safe during pregnancy, the usual recommendation is to avoid alcohol entirely. Alcohol is found in wine, beer, and hard liquor or spirits. A baby whose mother drinks can develop fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), which may manifest itself as developmental malformations, mental impairments, and/or low birth weight. Alcohol intake has also been shown to increase the risk of miscarriage. In addition, alcohol interferes with the absorption of nutrients such as the B-vitamin thiamine. Alcohol is most harmful in the first and second trimesters when your fetus is developing. However, toward the end of your pregnancy, it is probably safe to have a very occasional drink. (One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 1 ounce of spirits, or 4 ounces of wine.)

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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