Drinking beer while pregnant - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 04:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My neighbor is due in Sept. I don't know a whole lot about the effects of drinking while p/g, but I'm a slight bit concerned about my neighbor/friend. I've seen her drink 1-2 beers 4 times in the past couple of weeks. Is this harmful to the baby? I never really looked into it, as I chose not to drink or even walk thru a cloud of cigarette smoke b/c it seemed like the right thing to do. TIA,
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#2 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 04:18 AM
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Alcohol is linked to mental and physcial birth defects in infants and it is widely reccomended that a mother not drink at all during pregnancy. When you drink alcohol, so does your baby... alcohol from the your bloodstream crosses into the placenta and enters the bloodstream of the fetus.


http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/5534.html

If you are pregnant, the alcohol in your bloodstream passes through the placenta to the baby so that when you have a drink, the baby has one equal in strength.
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#3 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 06:15 AM
 
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The advice in the US is very different to the advice given in the UK and the rest of Europe. We're advised that a non-pregnant woman can safely drink between 21 and 28 units of alcohol per week (this figure was recently revised upwards) and a pregnant woman can safely have "an occasional" drink- generally, well under 7 units a week. Whilst I'm not dismissing the dangers of foetal alcohol syndrome, it's only in the last century with the rise of "processed' alcohols- all the crap that goes into beer, wine and spirits that bears no relation to hops, yeast and water- that this has become a major concern. Guinness and other stouts were traditionally recommended as a tonic to help iron levels, and to calm and relax aggressive BH contractions, whilst fermented liquids were traditional table fare for EVERYONE for centuries because the water was, fundamentally, unsafe to drink. Often, women would stay away from whiskies and strong liquor but drink ales, mead and wine freely.
I wouldn't worry. A pregnant woman is an adult, with the right to make her own decisions. It sounds to me like she has chosen to limit her drinking responsibly, and for you to question her judgement could cause her great pain.
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#4 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 09:44 AM
 
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In the first trimester, it's an absolute no-no. In the third trimester, I personally feel there is some wiggle room. I think the strict cautions against drinking at ALL during pregnancy are due mainly to the majority of people's lack of self control and inability to be moderate (and also the medical profession seeking to minimize liability). JMHO.

Regardless, it is her body, her choice.
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#5 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 09:48 AM
 
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We are told here that an occaisional glass of wine or beer is fine. I don't mean to sound trite, but it's not really your job to police her.

Olivia
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#6 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 11:08 AM
 
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I had a neighbor when I was younger who, while pregnant with her third, had a glass(or 3) of wine just about every night in her 2nd and 3rd trimester. Her some came out just perfectly healthy and fine. I believe that some babies are more prone to FAS, plus it's a much higher risk in the 1st trimester. Not that I'm saying everybody should, but I'm saying it's not the huge danger that some people would have you believe.

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#7 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 11:33 AM
 
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The difference in opinion between Europe and the US is so funny. The other day while we were playing poker, my husband and a friend were talking about this new Sam Adams beer that they really liked. I asked DH for his so I could take a taste - a sip! He freaked out and some other guy at the table was like, its only a sip, it wont hurt anything. My good friend from Sweden had some swedish glog (sp?) at a Christmas party when we were pregnant with our first children and everyone was whispering about her.

Over on this side of the pond, we tend to be so overly cautious about everything it makes my head spin. You can thank our very busy legal system!

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#8 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 11:48 AM
 
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When my mom had us, you were given Guinness after the birth. It really is different in Europe. I told my dr. that I had a beer, and she near died. Please. Also, when I was in the NICU, the nurses told me that they discount the mother's info regarding alcohol consumption, because she's probably lying. I guess every mother who has a drink is a total addict liar.
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#9 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 01:53 PM
 
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8 yrs ago my sister was pg with her first. We (as a family didn't know she was pg) She was a teen and we were in Europe for the New Year. She drank LOTS of beer in one night and the rest of our stay there (3wks) we all drank liquor, wine, beer...you name it~it was a family vacation of eating, drinking and having fun... It turns out that she was just pg (like 3-4 wks) and was sick as a dog with morning sickness. The baby, her daughter was born in perfect condition and she has had no problems.

I guess what I'm saying is that it all depends on each person doing the drinking. Yes drinking during pg is a no-no but I know some who have had no drinks with lots of infant problems, and then others who have done drinking and had no problems. My Mom has always encouraged me to have a glass of wine every once in a while to relax and enjoy...I never did b/c it scares me to death. Maybe it has to do with genes???

I like that you are concerned for her...have you brought it up with her???
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#10 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 02:01 PM
 
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Is there any chance it was a non-alcoholic beer? The cans or bottles look just like real beers. (Like the Becks non-alc beer bottle is practically identical to the real stuff)

I've been craving beer this pg (never drink it normally), so I've been drinking some non-alcoholic beer and my neighbour was shocked until I pointed out it was non-alcoholic.

Just a possibility...

Cheers,
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#11 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 02:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etoilech
I don't mean to sound trite, but it's not really your job to police her.
Olivia
I don't think "a slight bit concerned about my neighbor/friend" equals inappropriate policing. She never said anything about even talking to her about it, let alone calling in the authorities.

VM, I think it is thoughtful that you wanted to ask for the opinions of others and that you are just concerned about the welfare of her baby. I like community mentality.

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#12 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by etoilech
We are told here that an occaisional glass of wine or beer is fine. I don't mean to sound trite, but it's not really your job to police her.

Olivia
It's not policing when it's genuine concern. Why drink at all if there is any possible risk? Do you have to drink THAT BAD when you are pregnant? Why can't you go on the side of caution and just obstain for a little while? Let's face it, this mother isn't having a glass of wine at New Years or a beer on the 4th of July. Why drink 4 days a week (or possibly more?) I think that is a selfish and risky choice on behalf of that pregnant mother. Like it or not, everytime she drinks a beer, so does her baby. I know plenty of women (and men) who drink 2 beers and get a buzz... and while some don't, it's only because of their bodies adjusted to the effects of alcohol. I wonder what sort of a buzz the fetus gets after 2 beers? Seeing how it's body isnt' adjusted to a regular drinking habit

That's the whole theory behind half these women on the forums not vaccinating thier children isn't it? A possible risk? And yet, what benefit does drinking booze offer?

Sorry, I respectfully disagree with a lot of the above posts.
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#13 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 03:18 PM
 
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MrsMoe - EVERYTHING we do carries risks and it is up to each individual to decide which risks we are willing to take. Both the CNM I had with my first pregnancy and the CPM I have with this one say that the occasional beer or glass of wine is fine. To call another person's choice selfish is rude. I've decided to forgo routine ultrasounds with this pregnancy becuause I honestly don't see any benefit, but I would never call someone who DOES choose one selfish! When the US has infant & maternal mortality rates better than the rest of the world (espescially Europe) I might be more willing to blindly follow American obstetrical advice, but until then, I think I'm just as qualified to judge for myself the risks I am willing to take as some strangers over the internet.
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#14 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by andreac
MrsMoe - EVERYTHING we do carries risks and it is up to each individual to decide which risks we are willing to take. Both the CNM I had with my first pregnancy and the CPM I have with this one say that the occasional beer or glass of wine is fine. To call another person's choice selfish is rude. I've decided to forgo routine ultrasounds with this pregnancy becuause I honestly don't see any benefit, but I would never call someone who DOES choose one selfish! When the US has infant & maternal mortality rates better than the rest of the world (espescially Europe) I might be more willing to blindly follow American obstetrical advice, but until then, I think I'm just as qualified to judge for myself the risks I am willing to take as some strangers over the internet.

How is drinking booze during pregnancy not selfish? Explain why this is not a selfish choice for the mother, as her baby will drink alcohol, and what benefit does drinking reap for the mother (there isnt' any- drinking is purely for pleasure.) You are obviously touchy to my post, and I am honestly sorry if I hit a nerve with you. My apologies if my wording came across too strong.
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#15 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 03:59 PM
 
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Honestly, your post didn't really hit any personal nerves with me (regarding drinking while pg, which is what I'm guessing you mean), I guess it's like you said, maybe your wording hit me a little strongly. I just think that given that there is certainly no consensus on whether or not the occassional beer or glass of wine is harmful that it is really something best left up to individual to decide. As several previous posters have said, advice is totally different in Europe on this issue and they don't seem to be having problems with rampant fetal alcohol sydrome. Even within the US, some docs will say never, some will say a little is ok.

To me, it's just another example of not trusting women to make wise choices for their own bodies...like we're too stupid to know what "in moderation" means so they just tell us NO! I have the same attitude towards the many food restrictions that are thrust upon so many pg women. Things like, don't eat soft cheese...when really it's not "soft cheeses" that are unsafe, it's unpasteurized cheese that's poses a risk, but for some reason PG women aren't smart enough to read the label to see if any given cheese is pasteurized or not...so NO! It's an attitude that is SOOO irritating to me.

I totally respect anyone's decision to abstain completely from alcohol during pg, I just wish we could do the same for a women who makes a different choice (an occassional beer I mean, obviously no binging!). Obviously, you are free to judge whomever you want for whatever you see fit, it just seems that there are a lot of unknowns in this situation and no one really has all the answers.

Peace mama.
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#16 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 04:16 PM
 
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Mrs. Moe wrote:
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and what benefit does drinking reap for the mother (there isnt' any- drinking is purely for pleasure.)
A glass of wine or beer may help the expectant mother relax, particuarly if she is feeling under a lot of stress which can cause contractions and other ill effects. Relaxing can provide both physical and mental benefits to the mother, and thereby helps her baby as well. (Again, not talking about the first trimester here, or high risk pregnancies and/or a propensity for complications in general.)

I agree with Andreac, a lot of this is about not trusting the pregnant mother to make informed decision and to exercise self-control/ moderation.
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#17 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 04:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MrsMoe
...what benefit does drinking reap for the mother (there isnt' any- drinking is purely for pleasure.)
I remember the first drink I ever took when pregnant. I was about 5 months along with ds, and I hadn't slept at all for three nights straight. I was an absolute wreck...I'd tried warm baths, milk, yoga, meditation...just could not sleep.

So - I thought about trying a sleeping pill, but decided to have a drink about a half hour before bed instead. I was really nervous about even doing that! But, it seemed to work. I was relaxed enough to actually sleep that night and felt better than I had in days.

I had a total of three drinks that pregnancy...I hardly think that makes me "selfish", especially as I had already discussed it with my doctor.

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#18 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by nonconformnmom
Mrs. Moe wrote:


A glass of wine or beer may help the expectant mother relax, particuarly if she is feeling under a lot of stress which can cause contractions and other ill effects. Relaxing can provide both physical and mental benefits to the mother, and thereby helps her baby as well. (Again, not talking about the first trimester here, or high risk pregnancies and/or a propensity for complications in general.)

I agree with Andreac, a lot of this is about not trusting the pregnant mother to make informed decision and to exercise self-control/ moderation.
Why would a person need to turn alcohol in order to "relax?" Are there not other forms of relaxation that wouldn't feed the unborn fetus alcohol?
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#19 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the replies. MrsMoe, thanks for the link. Etolilech, I came in this forum looking for information from my fellow MDCer's, as I was concerned about my neighbor's drinking since I'm not thoroughly educated on the effects of alcohol and pregnancy. I'll thank you for not making such accussations against me in the future .
Chiro, thanks for the back up .
Can FAS cause speech problems? Thanks again everyone.
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#20 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 05:33 PM
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Thank you for the replies. MrsMoe, thanks for the link. Etolilech, I came in this forum looking for information from my fellow MDCer's, as I was concerned about my neighbor's drinking since I'm not thoroughly educated on the effects of alcohol and pregnancy. I'll thank you for not making such accussations against me in the future .
Chiro, thanks for the back up .
Can FAS cause speech problems? Thanks again everyone.
Yes, it can. They can also have issues with hearing (hearing effects speech.) Some times children who have fetal alcohol syndrome have noticeable quirky physcial facial abnormalities, such as the tips of thier ears can curl downward.

FAE is fetal alcohol effects - a less severe form of FAS where a child does not have all the symtoms of a child with the FAS disorder. FAE rarely has facial abnormailies.

FAS children are typically born to those mothers who drank large amounts of alcohol.

http://www.fetalalcohol.com/what-is-fase.htm
Here is a very informative link about FAS and FAE
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#21 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 05:44 PM
 
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Mrs. Moe,
I don't want to get into a debate with you, but just to clarify, you wrote:
Quote:
Why would a person need to turn alcohol in order to "relax?" Are there not other forms of relaxation that wouldn't feed the unborn fetus alcohol?
I didn't mean to imply that it should be a woman's sole or even first means of reaching a relaxed state. I was simply providing a counter to your statement that there are not any benefits, besides pleasure, for the mother in drinking alcohol.

And let's just be clear here. We're talking about a beer. Not vodka and hard liquor.
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#22 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by nonconformnmom

And let's just be clear here. We're talking about a beer. Not vodka and hard liquor.

A drink is a drink. It doesn't matter if it's vodka or rum. One alcoholic beverage is one alcoholic beverage, regardless of it's taste or form. A single serving of beer is equal to a single serving of vodka.
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#23 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 05:49 PM
 
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there is so much new research coming out on this, but it seems to never make mainstream media. in our current culture, pregnant women are treated like imbeciles that have no common sense (no hot tubs! no soft cheeses! no sushi! no wine!).

they're finding that more and more Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Effects are coming from a genetic defect that makes these babies more prone to FAS/FAE.

In my eyes, a woman's own common sense rules. If we're talking about an occasional beer, things are fine. I'd even feel ok drinking a glass of wine every night if I was pregnant. However, that is ME. I did have about four glasses of wine in my pregnancy.

This is a HOT topic here at MDC with LOADS of judgment around it. Of course, there is less judgment about eating meat with hormones and antibiotics in it, consuming NutraSweet, or even taking narcotics right before your baby is born for labor.

Bottom rule: mothers should listen to their intution. We live in a culture that thrives on spreading fear and making women - especially mothers - feel as if they are not perfect unless they follow a certain routine....and it creates a ton of guilt and shame.
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#24 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 05:56 PM
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We aren't talking about a single drink once in a while. The poster is questioning a woman who drinks on a regular basis during pregnancy.

Trusting your body is wonderful, but trusting an alcoholic beverage that you willingly put into your body on a regular basis that the fetus is also going to have in it's developing body is a whole new ballpark.

If there is a possible risk, why drink? Is it THAT important that you do?

Over and over I hear mothers who refuse to vaccinate thier children against disease due to possible risks. But drinking is acceptable? :

You haven't seen or interacted with FAS children. I have. This is something that really tugs at my heart strings.


A 2001 - Wayne State University research study
6/7 yr old children of mothers who had as little as one drink a week during pregnancy were more likely than children of non-drinkers to have behavior problems, such as aggressive and delinquent behaviors. This study also found that children whose mothers drank any amount alcohol during pregnancy were more than three times as likely as unexposed children to demonstrate delinquent behaviors.

University of Washington research study
Mothers were social drinkers and an average of about two drinks per day - children ages 7 were given intelligence tests and these children scored seven points lower than the average for all children in the study. By the age 14 these casual light alcohol-exposed children remained more likely to have learning issues, especially in teh areas of mathematics and memory, as well as behavioral issues.
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#25 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 06:14 PM
 
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why would anyone risk a lower IQ by not breastfeeding?



come on, MrsMoe - you're even talking about an occasional drink here and how "dangerous" it is.

I just don't agree. And that's ok. You don't know my history and you don't know what sort of kids I know and have been around.


I can see you are passionate about this issue. That's appreciated. However, I disagree.

In many places around the world, alcohol is consumed throughout pregnancy. Not in large "let's get drunk" amounts, but frequently with dinner or a meal. Where is the rampant FAS/FAE population there? What about when clean water wasn't readily available and wheat ales were drank by everyone - including kids? Were they all - or mostly - FAS/FAE babies?

I just think there is alot we don't know, of course, but we do treat all pregnant women like idiots in this country. Scare the sh&$t out of them and maybe we can make them feel guilty about how they raise them instead.

I'm not saying that four beers in one week is necessarily a thing to blow off - it could be random or it could be the sign of a problem.
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#26 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 06:19 PM
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point made.

ah, the joys of being on a high horse.

I especially appreciate the assumption that I don't know any kids with FAS or have never been around any. Nice try.

There was no reason for the above comments, it does not pertain to the issue and is not relevant to the thread.

To me, listening to a "woman's intuition" is not logical, as I don't even buy into the idea of intuition. I buy into medical facts, data and research of top universities.
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#27 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 06:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Vito's Mommy
Etolilech, I came in this forum looking for information from my fellow MDCer's, as I was concerned about my neighbor's drinking since I'm not thoroughly educated on the effects of alcohol and pregnancy. I'll thank you for not making such accussations against me in the future .
Give me a break. All I said was it's not considered to be *risky* behavior HERE to have an occaisional drink. Most of Europe and Asia should be deformed, by all accounts. I don't know about you but, I *hate* to be tisk-tisked about such things. Maybe she knows the risks herself. I am pretty sure most women at least have been told to LIMIT alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Is anyone really so obtuse not to?

I understand your concern, and I can feel where the concern is coming from. I just wouldn't be surprised if you perhaps got a bit of an ear full if you choose to discuss it with her, people can be touchy. Instead of seeing it as coming from a place of concern, she may see it as an attack on her. Just as you saw *my* comment as one, (which it wasn't).

Relax. I understand your concern.

Olivia
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#28 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by pamamidwife
why would anyone risk a lower IQ by not breastfeeding?



come on, MrsMoe - you're even talking about an occasional drink here and how "dangerous" it is.

I just don't agree. And that's ok. You don't know my history and you don't know what sort of kids I know and have been around.


I can see you are passionate about this issue. That's appreciated. However, I disagree.

In many places around the world, alcohol is consumed throughout pregnancy. Not in large "let's get drunk" amounts, but frequently with dinner or a meal. Where is the rampant FAS/FAE population there? What about when clean water wasn't readily available and wheat ales were drank by everyone - including kids? Were they all - or mostly - FAS/FAE babies?

I just think there is alot we don't know, of course, but we do treat all pregnant women like idiots in this country. Scare the sh&$t out of them and maybe we can make them feel guilty about how they raise them instead.

I'm not saying that four beers in one week is necessarily a thing to blow off - it could be random or it could be the sign of a problem.

I see you edited your thread. Thank you for removing your unkind comments.

If you read my above posts, 2 drinks a day for a pregnant woman lwoered children's IQ score by 7 points in a middle class family, as well as the child was more likley than non-exposed children to suffer from behavior disirders.

The issue isn't just FAS or FAE. While FAS may be from drinking large quanities of alcohol, and FAE less amounts than that of a FAS child, each condition is linked to the degree of the pregnant mother's drinking habits. The more she drinks, the worse a child is harmed and the wrose the degree of FAS or FAE. And if ther are any underlying genetic issues, FAS and FAE are far more likely to strike a child.

Again, the mother in question is not drinking on occasion, she is a regular drinker.
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#29 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 06:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MrsMoe
There was no reason for the above comments, it does not pertain to the issue and is not relevant to the thread.

To me, listening to a "woman's intuition" is not logical, as I don't even buy into the idea of intuition. I buy into medical facts, data and research of top universities.
I guess you skipped a few journal articles from over here stating that low to moderate alcohol consumption does not pose a significant risk. If you're interested there are some interesting articles from the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the UK regarding the subject.

I also buy into the *fact* that Europe does not have more children with FAS than North America, despite our "selfish" ways. It's called a cultural difference.

Olivia
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#30 of 155 Old 07-06-2005, 06:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MrsMoe
listening to a "woman's intuition" is not logical, as I don't even buy into the idea of intuition. I buy into medical facts, data and research of top universities.

Wow, this is quite possibly the saddest thing I have read on here in a very long time. I'm so sorry.
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