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You Actually *Can* Drink Alcohol When You’re Pregnant {But Be Sure to Read the Comments!}


Yep, you read that right. (Be sure to read the follow up post!)

But before I explain, guess what I’ve got right next to me?
beautiful-babies-front-coverIt’s the new book:

Beautiful Babies: Nutrition for Fertility, Pregnancy, Breast-feeding, and Baby’s First Foods!

When it came today I texted Kristen to say, “I’m holding it RIGHT NOW!”

There’s just something cool about holding your friend’s book in your hands. Because I was here when Kristen first started her blog, I’ve read all her posts, I know she knows her stuff, and now I have the book right here to prove it!

Her common sense approach to all of the hot topics is what I love most about her writing. She does her research, takes all of the known facts into consideration, looks at it from the view of how traditional (and healthier) cultures did things, throws a little personal experience into the mix, and what you end up with is some solid, trustworthy advice.


And because I always go for the politically incorrect stuff most, one of my favorite parts in Beautiful Babies is where she powers through some nutritional myth-busting.

  • Is it true that when you’re pregnant you should worry about getting listeria from eating eat raw cheese or sushi?
  • Do you really need that iron supplement?
  • A personal favorite: Should you avoid fat and cholesterol? (My faithful readers know the answer to that question, and if not, read more about healthy fats here.)
  • And what will really knock your socks off is the one that I wanted to tell you about today…


It turns out that a small amount of alcohol when you’re pregnant won’t harm your baby at all!

As Kristen explains, this is a personal issue and some may not feel comfortable drinking any alcohol during pregnancy; but if you’d like to enjoy a little wine now and then, it’s ok!

Before you do this, you may want to read the flaming comments below, though, so you hear all sides! :)

Here’s an excerpt from Beautiful Babies:

Until recently, there has never been a study measuring the effects of light or even moderate drinking during pregnancy. The studies only addressed heavy drinking—defined as “five drinks or more per day”—or no drinking at all. That’s because the risk isn’t really coming from women who like to have a beer with their husbands after work or a celebratory glass of champagne on New Year’s. Rather, it’s coming from women who don’t restrict their heavy alcohol intake at all, and the studies on heavy drinking are meant to convince them of the permanent damage they’re doing both to their child and to themselves when they continue to drink that way.

Then, in 2010, a large study on light drinking during pregnancy was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. It studied 11,513 children whose mothers reported on their drinking habits while pregnant. The study followed the mothers through their pregnancy, birth, and the first five years of the child’s life. For the purpose of the study, “light drinking” was defined as two units of alcohol no more than once or twice per week, when a standard unit is 7.9 grams—approximately one small glass of wine. The British research found no negative effects—at all—of such light drinking on five year olds. In fact, the children were slightly less likely to have behavioral problems and performed somewhat better on cognitive tests than children whose mothers had abstained.10

In 2012, a series of five Danish studies were published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. They also monitored alcohol consumption in pregnant mothers and studied the children of those mothers again at age five. These studies defined low consumption as one to four drinks per week and moderate consumption as five to eight drinks per week. Heavy consumption was nine or more per week, and binge drinking was defined as having more than five drinks in a single sitting on any single occasion. A drink is defined as 12 grams of alcohol.

Not only did this series of studies find no negative cognitive, emotional, or neurological effects in the children of light to moderate drinkers, but it also found no harm to children from binge drinking!11 Heavy drinking, of course, resulted in the typical and well known alcohol side effects—behavioral problems, lower attention spans, learning disabilities, etc.

So, what do these studies mean for you? Where should you draw the line?

You’ll have to get the book to find out what that meant for Kristen during her pregnancies (here’s a hint: she still drank very little when she was pregnant, so moms, be sure you read the rest of that chapter before deciding how you’ll handle this issue when you’re pregnant), but again, she used common sense, and she can help you apply that same common sense to your life. OR to the life of someone you know who is pregnant or hoping to become that way soon!

So be sure to pass on this post to that person!

babiesPre-order the book for them now and remember, if you do so before March 18th, you (or they) will get FREE enrollment into Kristen’s $199 Beautiful Babies e-course, too!


Then email your Amazon sales receipt to by March 18th to get your FREE Beautiful Babies online class enrollment. That’s all you have to do!

So what do you think about this, and if you already have children, did you drink during your pregnancy?


  1. There’s that word again. Common Sense. I have started to use that as my guide instead of research. I have told people that ask what I eat and why. When they ask about research I say ” nope.” For every study I can find for support, someone could find another against. It is getting ridiculous, imo. What I have found is common sense works rather well. I eat like my great grandmother did. That actually is the safest, healthiest way to eat, research supported or not. Up to us to decide what we believe and is best for us, but, I would like all to use common sense more and research less. Loved this article. Bought the book.and gave the course to my pregnant daughter who is thrilled. She follows common sense also for herself and as of yesterday her year old daughter!

  2. So interesting! Thank you, Kelly, for boldly posting this myth buster today! The important point here is the principle–we get something in our heads, crystalize it, and then it joins the mass of set-in-stone “facts” we “know” about the world and how it works. When really, we need to think critically about EVERYTHING and be willing to re-visit that mass of “facts” occasionally, pull it apart, and look at the components afresh. If I had a preggo friend, I’d buy this book for them!

    • That’s so true, I still find myself believing something I have “always known to be true” and reminding myself not to blindly follow anything or anyone!

  3. What kind of spoiled child would even take the risk?

    The “study” says, “it’s o.k., do it!”. The “study” also said you should suck down fluoride in your water and brush your teeth with it because it gives you strong teeth. The “study” said eat margarine – it’s better than butter! And so on…

    How foolish to take such unnecessary risks, and how self-centered, IMHO.

    Some of these young women today need to grow up. It’s not about YOU.

    • Elizabeth, this is exactly the sort of misplaced judgmentalism that, in my opinion, demonstrates closed-mindedness. I got the “risk” argument a lot from people who saw me doing things during my pregnancy that they didn’t agree with. Most of those people happened to do things that I thought were endangering their children even more, like over-vaccinating their children, feeding processed deli meats to their kids, using commercial antiperspirants and household cleaning products, etc. But I didn’t criticize or try to scare them.

      You talk about self-centeredness as if it’s a bad thing. I totally disagree. It is extremely important to take care of yourself and be happy. I think that release of “happy hormones” is incredibly important to having a healthy baby. Some of us get joy out of eating a nice meal, which may be occasionally paired with a nice wine. That’s a GOOD thing.

      Everything we do in life is risky. Mothers need to trust their intuition to avoid the things that they feel are riskiest for them. Some alcohol during pregnancy is not, in my opinion, up there in terms of riskiness and this is coming from someone who spends a LOT of time studying health and nutrition.

      • I wish there was a LIKE button for this post. I drank wine during all my pregnancies. You might remember from history class that people used to get sick from water. They drank beer and wine. I still want to know if it is normal in Japan for pregnant women to eat sushi. As for any food, it isn’t what is on the list, it is about not getting sick. Even fresh spinach has had food contaminations. I just get do annoyed by the judgemental Puritanism in this country. What angers me more is the fear around pregnancy. The human body knows how to make a baby. We know from reading Dr. Price that more things go wrong when the nutrition is lacking. When I chose to try a homebirth, I was faced with not only my fears, but also much fear from other people. I did my research, prayed a lot, and let go of fear. With every pregnancy, we are told there’s a chance of death. I decided to grow from that experience instead of letting it shut me down. A lot of women will turn off their brain and follow all these rules if it will keep them safe. Many of what we follow doesn’t make any sense or are harmful. IMHO, ultrasounds are dangerous. In the early days of X-rays, they had machines in shoe stores to see how the shoes fit. Of course they used them on pregnant women, until the bad effects showed up.
        I don’t know anything about this book but I champion anything that promotes common sense and thinking for yourself. I also recommend Free Range Kids blog, which sheds a light on this same risk adverse judgementalism we hear everywhere. There is so much fearmongering that we, as a culture, lose the ability to assess real risks.

      • Plus if you read more about what Kristen says in her book, it makes perfect sense. She didn’t drink a lot (not at all) and she listened to her body.

        • You are giving a wrong message, your studies that you quote are at five years of age and younger, many of our kids with ‘fasd ‘ issues do not present with behaviours until grade one, thats WHEN they have to learn!!!

    • I find it ironic that you used “IMHO”, (in my humble opinion). Your opinion wasn’t very humble. It was forceful and condescending. You won’t drink at all during your pregnancy, we get that. Thank you for your not-so-humble opinion.

  4. I remember reading in some older breastfeeding book (cannot remember the name…) when I was nursing my first that mentioned a glass of wine being a good thing when pregnant or breastfeeding. Although I drank only sporadically & no more than a glass of wine at a time when pregnant, I was always comforted by this “old” advice. Thanks for all the work you do!

    • Back before everyone got bent out of shape about alcohol use while pregnant or breastfeeding, beer used to be recommended, because the hops in beer helps stimulate milk production. Now, if you want that effect, you need to drink a hoppy beer–something dark and bitter, like an India Pale Ale. Bud Light and its ilk are maybe shown a hop flower on the way through the brewery, but they don’t contain any hops to speak of.

      I noticed that the studies all seemed to be about heavy drinking a long time ago, ran things past the ol’ BS meter, and discussed them with my midwife, and decided that, past the first trimester, drinking about as much as I normally do (an occasional mead or hard cider or glass of wine) wasn’t going to cause any harm.

      • Yes, my friend tells me his mom was told to drink Guinness by her doctor for the iron content.

        My doctor also told me small amounts are fine!

      • For years and years it was considered that kerosene in the right dosage had considerable healthful effects and was considered prime medicine.

        Ah, yes. The good old days were the best!

  5. Totally agree with Jenny about common sense. It’s amazing how people get on these “bandwagons” preaching to take Folic Acid, avoid alcohol, avoid unpateurized dairy, etc. I personally drank a small amount of wine all throughout my pregnancy. Never was worried in the slightest. I also drank raw, pasture-rasied milk and ate good quality soft cheeses imported from France, Switzerland and Germany. And no, I didn’t take processed nutritional supplements. I did, however, eat more organ meats, avoided refined sugar and processed deli meats and avoided commercial soaps, deodorants and perfumes. Of course most people thought I was deranged, including, sadly, my OB-GYN. That’s why I fired her and gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby at home.

    • Common sense, NO common sense would be make you baby as healty as you CAN , no matter what you eat or drink! That is common sense, WE have proven studies that DO show even a little drinking causes cognitive, intellectual and developmental delays, Really this is about protecting alcohol not the baby!

  6. I disagree with drinking alcohol while pregnant. It isn’t about YOU, it’s about your baby. Why play Russian Roulette with your child’s brain & future? Better safe than sorry…

  7. I would still not drink in pregnancy and personally do not drink at all. I have had one small drink in five years and could feel liver/kidney pain the next day. It was not worth it to me, so I don’t. I would definitely not take the risk in pregnancy or while exclusively breastfeeding. That is my comfort level though….

    I definitely agree about the risks on things like cholesterol, raw eggs, raw cheeses, etc.! I consume those often!

  8. You are an adult and can make the choice to drink. An unborn baby cannot. Why take the risk when the evidence is so alarming? Yes, a few glasses of wine are not going to result in a significant intellectual impairment….but what about the ability to pay attention in school, comprehend more of what is read, maintain self-control. The brain is constantly forming during pregnancy, especially during the last half of pregnancy. The alcohol you drink can affect the brain development that is happening at that moment in time. Alcohol is a teratogen and causes chemical changes. The science is real, just like the resulting brain damage. I am raising four alcohol-affected children whose condition is permanent and can never be undone. Please, remind people that the safest amount of alcohol to consume during pregnancy is NONE!

    • I agree with Craig. Alcohol of any type goes directly to the growing, developing baby, and a fetus isn’t able to metabolize the alcohol as quickly as the mother, so it affects the baby for an even longer time period. The central nervous system is continually developing prenatally. If you would not feed your baby alcohol shortly after birth, why would you feed him/her alcohol before birth? The effect on the baby is the same. There is no known safe amount of alcohol for an unborn baby. Why not provide the best environment we can for this developing baby’s brain?

  9. I wish those studies would have waited to announce their findings when the child is 10 and 14 and 18 instead of 5 when concrete operations is at a peak and they are energetic and brilliant As a parent of a child, now beautiful and independent adult woman, I still watch the struggles, the challenges, the subtle biological differences. As a child from a hard place (in the womb) I watched as the little girl who loved to be read to discovered she was unable to read and go from using 3 syllable words to curling up at story time in a freeze. I watched her reach full puberty at age 8 with her wisdom teeth in before she was 12. I watched as she moved from 3rd grade which was almost doable to 4th grade and her peers moved into abstraction leaving her behind. I watched the fear and anger as she tried to survive in a world she was not a capable participant and did not understand. I watched her transverse into adulthood… her story Braided Cord Tough Times In and Out by Liz Kulp of her journey and finalist USA Best Books Health Addictions and Recovery. This is not a time to cast a stone on either side of the river, I do challenge those who have the skills and knowledge and wisdom to hire these adults and work alongside them, braid into their lives in sober fun friendships, volunteer to help a teen with FASD, braid into the lives of those who have come from hard places with a hobby or skill you can share and let them gain Live Abilities in their lives

  10. I also had a home birth and was warned by tons of people how “dangerous” it was and “why would you endanger your child like that”. How ironic that people like that will tell you how dangerous our choices are and wouldn’t choose to do what we have done(i.e. drink some wine, have a homebirth, etc…) and yet the accusatory people will take all these drugs during labor and still point fingers at us who choose to drink a little wine during our pregnancy?!…Hmmm…..

  11. I am outraged by your little blog here…..NO you can not drink any alcohol while pregnant. One drink can cause permanent damage. You need to research this subject and talk to all the parents of FASD children and adults. I don’t use this word lightly but you are an IDIOT!!!!

    • Whoa! Someone has their knickers in a knot. You certainly have the right to your opinion, but calling people names? Really? What are you? Five years old?

    • There are several similar posts on this thread. So…where are the LIGHT to MODERATE drinking mothers of FASD babies? Answer: there aren’t any. As the research pointed out. I’ve worked with FASD kids. Every single one had mothers that were heavy drinkers while pregnant–and most of the mothers were using drugs (not marijuana, real drugs), as well.

      • The biggest regreat of my life is that I was a light drinker during my pregnancy with my son who is now 24, and on the FASD spectrum. My doctor gave me the same advice that is touted here….. that is takes alot of alcohol to cause FAS. He probably had all of 10 minutes of medical school on the subject. Many health care provideres are not well versed in FASD. So I took the advice and listened to my body, and used COMMON SENSE, which was a very grave mistake. Any of you moms who used alcohol have kids with ADHD type symptoms? Sensory integration challenges? Behavioral concerns like sleeping and eating issues? High risk behaviors? Your kids may not have all of the characteristics of Alcohol Related Nearodevelopmental Disorder (ARND… on the spectrum), but all of these challenges can result from alcohol use during pregnancy. Many kids don’t show significant challenges until ages 8-12. So the studies that only look at kids up to age 5 are missing the later challenges.
        Any other birth moms of kids that were prenatally exposed to alcohol with resulting consequences? The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome – — has an online support group where we can connect to share our regrets and hope. Google Circle of Hope Birth Mother Network to connect with us or go to the NOFAS website. From the voice of first hand experience…. please don’t take the risk. Watching my son struggle with school, legal problems, poor judgement, and addiction because I wanted to have a couple of drinks each week was defintely NOT worth the price he/we have paid.

        • As I pointed out before, what a beautiful, catch-all, blame the mom, way for doctors to weasel out of finding out what’s really going on! Blame _everything_ that can go wrong with children on a substance the humans have been using since roughly the beginning of time, but, oh, we just didn’t “recognize” the effects of tiny amounts of it till lately. Don’t you think it makes a lot more sense to be looking at newer inputs into our kids–bad food, toxic vaccines (less than 10% of vaccine reactions are reported–partly because doctors are TRAINED to call them anything else they can get away with), modern environmental toxins, etc? It’s SO much easier to chalk it up to one drink during pregnancy, when few people know the history of alcohol consumption, get out of really finding out what’s going on with the kid, and put the mom through guilt Hell for the rest of her life!

          “Your kid isn’t perfect? Well, it must have been that toast on New Year’s Eve that did it. No, we don’t have any objective way to be sure that was what happened, but that’s it.” Anyone who pulls that on a parent needs to be horsewhipped, IMNSHO! (And the more of your stories I read, the more convinced I am of it)

          The more of you folks post here, the more I feel sorry for YOU. You have been snowed and abused and put through Hell, for reasons that simply cannot be reconciled to history or any sort of logic (except in the cases of very heavy drinking).

          • Thank you! I couldn’t have said it better, Heather. Blame the alcohol… but pitocin to start inductions, anesethias for ceserean births, vaccines immediately after birth (even micro-preemie babies), GMOs our government allows in our food supply, etc. has nothing to do with the health problems of the American society… right?!

  12. Wow! Have we in this society lost the ability to share and have different opinions and debates on sensitive topics that we end up becoming belligerent to one another?! Come on people this is a blog of “politically incorrect health and nutritional information”. Everyone should be able to share here without demeaning each other and if it’s a touchy subject then be prepared to “pull your big girl(or boy) panties up!….

    • Look after a child with FASD, then you’ll understand why we get het up. The children often don’t show much of the FASD until they reach pubity, not necessarily in the early years.

      • They make us a better society if we stop even one child being born with brain damage.

        If we’re right, it will save a child, if we’re wrong, will it really hurt you to go without alcohol for nine months.

  13. As an adoptive mother of my little boy who will carry life long neurological damage caused by prenatal drinking, I am outraged that this information is out there for women to consider. I agree with Craig and Karen and beg of everyone to reconsider the notion that it is safe to drink while pregnant. Research on both sides, just as you would, say, the research on vaccines.

  14. I have 4 pregnant friends right now. On new year’s eve, they ALL said their big Pharma, cesarean pushing doctor said something to the effect of, “Now I HAVE to tell you not to drink, but if we were in Europe, I would tell you its fine to drink. You can have some champagne if you would like to.” If the doctors we all think are trying to ruin our health with pharmaceuticals are saying its OK to have a drink, its probably OK…

  15. Raising FAS adopted children with mild drinking from mom I think the study was paid for spirit industry. It is not worth the risk……….

  16. As a birthmom of a child with alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder, I am disturbed at the recent trend toward acceptance of drinking during pregnancy.

    I realize that this blog is about ‘politically incorrect’ health and nutritional information, and respect your decision to publish information about the recent studies that seem to indicate that light drinking during pregnancy is safe.

    However, I would like to point out that none of those studies followed the children past their 5th year. In my daughter’s case, as well as those of many people who are affected by alchohol consumption during pregnancy, she didn’t show any obvious signs of brain damage until she was in 4th grade. It is about that time that education begins requiring abstract reasoning skills, rather than concrete reasoning and memorization skills. Fetal alcohol consumption impairs ‘executive functioning’ of the brain, which is what is needed to process information at an abstract level.

    It would be interesting to see results of a study done on these same kids at 15 years old, and 25 years old. I would expect to see evidence of diminished executive functioning in many of them.

  17. My adopted son has fetal alcohol syndrome from his mother drinking 3 alcoholic drinks a day. The result for him is horrific. He cannot function normally, cannot fit in, doesnt really have any friends and struggles in most things he does. He needs someone to be his external brain – he will never hold down a job and his behaviour leaves a lot to be desired.

    There is no filter for alcohol in the placenta – so if you drink your baby drinks.

    You might find this article interesting.

    • I think anyone with a brain cell in their head knows having drink drinks a day, 21 drinks a week isn’t good when pregnant. This is about mild drinking.

      • Really? What is mild drinking? Only having a drink when your baby’s brain isn’t forming? How about his heart? Or maybe just his nervous system? Dolt.

  18. I’m disheartened to see this. As someone who does not follow CW in so many ways when it comes to a SAD mindsight, I understand wanting to push back on traditional studies, but as a middle school teacher of students with special needs, I am flabbergasted that you would link to a similar study and announce that it is okay to drink alcohol during pregnancy. You’ve clearly never worked with a child who suffers from the ill effects of having alcohol forced on him/her in the womb. Some of the other astute commenters have noted that it is unlikely that the impact of FAS would be known by age 5. The detrimental impact would become painfully obvious as a child begins to learn to read, think abstractly, and function within society’s norms. It is heartwrenching to work day after day with teenagers whose lives have been irrevocably altered by a negligent and selfish choice. The attention grabbing headline followed by the “but you’ll have to get the book to find out…” made me shudder. This post is irresponsible at best.

  19. I’m not taking one side or the other but just wanted to present a few interesting facts that people may want to know in order to make their own decisions about drinking alcohol while pregnant.

    The enzyme that breaks down alcohol in the mother’s body is called alcohol dehydrogenase. Your baby lacks this enzyme in their own body and must rely on the mother’s body (via the blood supply through the placenta) in order to clear alcohol from the baby’s blood stream. This means that while the levels of alcohol in the mother’s body are one thing, the levels in the baby’s body are much higher and it takes longer to clear the baby’s blood stream. Even if it’s just one drink.

    This is the cause of the damage that alcohol does to a baby and why the mother may suffer no ill effects. This is one reason why they can not determine the exact number of drinks that will cause problems. Every woman’s body is different and everyone clears alcohol from their system at different rates. But, whatever the rate, it is much slower for your baby which means that their developing body and brain are exposed to much higher levels of alcohol than your own and for a longer time.

    When you’re pregnant you are carrying around some very precious cargo… the drink that important? Is it worth the risk?

  20. What I think it means for people on the standard American diet is that ethanol increases the need for choline in an already choline deficient diet, so maybe some behavioral issues are simply choline deficiencies.

    • @ aaron thats rubbish the ehavioural probelms with these children is BRAIN DAMAGE due to consumption of alcohol when pregnant

      • I didn’t say that massive alcohol consumption didn’t cause brain damage. I meant that it might explain some of the lesser problems. Fetal alcohol syndrome, for example, is a potent example of excessive alcohol consumption that I would say is UNrelated to choline. So I partially agree.

      • Has anyone done any work on choline deficiencies in FASD kids? If not, you can hardly call it rubbish out of hand. Other researchers are finding that addressing vitamin D deficiencies helps alleviate autism symptoms in some autistic kids, so why shouldn’t nutrition help FASD kids? Brain damage is NOT necessarily a permanent thing.

        • Personally, I half agree with you – some things like FAS and autism (I believe) are probably developmental and therefore, probably permanent, but I believe you are right – people with such problems can be greatly helped with diets like GAPS and by supplementing with certain things.

          • There is new research out (I saw it yesterday, on Natural News) that kids whose moms take folic acid just before and at the very beginning of pregnancy are less likely to be autistic.

            Our medical system likes to find one-sentence answers to things. The like to take the “active component” of an herb, standardize it, and sell it, without paying attention to the fact that the so-called “inactive” components are just as important, because they do things like mitigate side effects of the “active component”. They want to have single causes for the collections of symptoms we cause “autism” or “Asperger’s” or even “Fetal Alcohol Disorder”, when it’s pretty plain to anyone who pays attention to research that the real picture is more complicated than that. Obviously, there is more at work in fetal alcohol syndrome than _just_ consuming x amount of alcohol during pregnancy…and it is something that has changed in our makeup over the centuries (yes, I saw that list of older research–almost all of it was discussing alcoholism, NOT alcohol consumption). For that matter, what makes one person an alcoholic who can’t touch a drop and another person not? Is there some connection between FAS and alcoholism (maybe moms with close relatives who are alcoholics have a particular need to abstain while pregnant)? Is it solely genetic? Is it an environmental effect? A nutritional deficiency? Or some combination of the above, as autism seems most likely to be? It would be nice if doctors admitted to not knowing when they don’t actually know something, but the medical profession has a nasty tendency toward arrogance that way, so they say, “We know this” when they mean, “We think this might be it, but we DON’T know”.

  21. as the grandmother of 2 grandsons who both have fas i beg anyone please dont drink when pregnant, my grandsons will never lead a full independant life, they are struggling at school. this is a condition that is 100% preventable if there is NO ALCOHOL during pregnancy, its just 9 months out of your life to give your baby a perfect life, if you find this hard to believe try this experiment take a glass crack an egg into it add a shot of vodka and watch what it does to that egg in 10 mins, thats what alcohol does to your baby is it worth it

  22. Recently while visiting my parents, my daughter (17) pulled out the family photo albums. She was pooping her pants as she saw pictures of my mother pregnant (in 1965 with me) with a cocktail and a cigarette in her hand. In one group photo my mom is surrounded by several friends -also pregnant- all holding drinks and smokes. My mom explained to my daughter that they drank almost every nite! How times have changed.

    I did have a couple of glasses of wine (over the 9 month period) when I was pregnant but I clearly remember it was because I was craving red wine. I usually like white, so when the craving for red kicked in, I poured a small glass and enjoyed it. I also had a couple of sips of champagne when my husband graduated law school. I allowed my body to lead me. Up until I was pregnant at 30, I had never, ever liked tomatoes, but when pregnant I craved them. I just followed the cues.

    Was that the right way to handle my pregnancy? I don’t know but it worked for me. I don’t think my mom’s generation had it aced either, but most of us seem to have turned out okay too. Who knows?!

    • Yep, who knows. What would your IQ have been if your mother didn’t drink? Would you be able to handle stress better? Have a better social life? Have some common sense? Who knows?

  23. Fascinating! Especially the range of responses. I used to work with a young man with fetal alcohol syndrome, and it made it nearly impossible if not impossible for him to think rationally and control his behavior. We finally had to fire him for coming to work drunk (more than once), in addition to thievery. My boss knew the mom and I think she’s not only been a drinker but a meth abuser.

    On the other hand, an Irish guy I used to work with told me that Guinness used to be recommended to pregnant women as a nutritional boost! I doubt it was pints and pints a day, and if I were pregnant, I would probably err on the side of caution, but it’s the total package — the diet, supplements, lifestyle/stress, sleep, genetics, environment — that determines the health of the baby. No doubt alcohol drunk by a pregnant woman on an insufficient diet is going to do more damage.

  24. I work as a grant administrator in a top University Pediatric Neurology department. A few of my doctors perform extensive research on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and the prevention of Alcohol Neurotoxicity. I am NOT a professional physician or researcher but I am involved in helping them write the grants and monitor everything. I’m saying this because as a researcher and physician they look at women who have a high Blood Alcohol Level. We are all wonderfully and fearfully made, which means no one is the same. One glass of red wine for someone who processes alcohol slower than normal will affect the fetus differently than someone whose system can detoxify quicker. Women/mothers need to be aware of their own bodies and what they can handle.

    Example: My sister, who is pregnant, very petite and does not normally drink, had a sip of champagne at her friends wedding. It made her feel nauseous, so she did not continue to drink it. She listened to her body.

    I don’t want to condemn a woman for drinking 3 drinks per day because her BAC would differ depending on what she drank (was it vodka, beer, watered down wine?), what she weighed and how her liver processes things, but I would hesitate in saying that it is healthy. And obviously it was too much if the child has FAS.

    I know that Kelly or Kristen are NOT advocating for everyone to drink during pregnancy. They are highlighting the fact that we are all different and trying to help women think for themselves, instead of doing what they are told to do. My guess is that if you read this blog, you are well educated and into natural living. Not a prime candidate for “brushing my teeth with a bottle of jack” as Kesha so eloquently puts it.

    My heart goes out to all the parents and families who are helping children who have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Thank you for loving them and giving them a chance when no one else would! You. Rock.

    • Meghan,

      “My heart goes out to all the parents and families who are helping children who have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Thank you for loving them and giving them a chance when no one else would! You. Rock.”

      I completely agree!!!

  25. Perhaps you would like to tell my daughter that it’s OK to drink while pregnant. When I was pregnant with her we had three celebrations in my husbands family. I had two small glasses of wine on each occasion, 6 in total over the nine months. She has FASD. Perhaps you would like to take over the care of children with this condition since you think it OK. The other things you say I agree with, but telling women they can drink in moderation is bad for the unborn child.

      • Abbey- could you explain how Patricia didn’t listen to her body while consuming a mere 6 small glasses of wine over the entirety of her pregnancy?

    • Are your doctors sure of the diagnosis? Mild ASD and mild FASD* overlap significantly. If you admit to drinking doctors will blame it on the alcohol and give an FASD diagnosis.

      That said, Native Americans and African Americans are more likely to have children with FASD since their ethnic heritage didn’t include constant drinking like Europeans.

      *I’m assuming mild FASD given the reported about of alcohol. Unless someone spiked your wine with everclear.

      • Oh dear I forgot, I’m stupid and don’t know anything and you are brilliant. Of course I’m sure of the diagnoses. Somebody also said about being OK to drink in Europe. I am English so, in case you don’t know your geography, that is part of Europe. I now foster in Ukraine and believe me, FASD is rampant here, even though a lot of mother’s are beginning to cut down when pregnant.

        Don’t talk down to people just because they know better than to agree with your views.

          • Actually, finding a doctor in the US who is familiar enough with FAS to diagnosis it is not easy. Multi-specialty clinics who diagnose the other 90% of those affected by alcohol without the specific facial features and growth deficiences of FAS are very few and far between.

        • And very heavy drinking and alcoholism are also rampant in the Ukraine, so rampant FASD is no surprise.

          • Report in a couple of news feeds I got a few weeks ago says that the west is catching up with ukraine and Russia as is diagnosed FASD.

            My daughter is English and 36, I’ve only lived here for 10 years so she was not a product of the Ukrainian culture. Also many women over here now are beginning to realise that drinking is bad for their babies and try to stop as soon as they realise they are pregnant. Unfortunately, by that time it can be too late, but at least they’re trying.

      • By the way, nobody could have spiked my drink, firstly, if you have seen the tiny wine glasses we have in UK at parties, there isn’t room to spike the drink and secondly, I am one of those people who carry their drink round with them talking to friends and relatives.

          • I am presuming you live in Uk, or have visited there. Next time try going to a family party with all age groups from 84 years to 6 months old instead of going to the pub or club all the time. You’ll find there is a big difference in the glasses.

            Here in Ukraine the glasses for wine hold 50g, the glasses we use in England would almost, (not quite) fit inside one of these. Please don’t call me a liar. I’pm not.

            • I’m from the UK, West Midlands. Although, I haven’t lived there in twenty odd years. I’m well aware of the size of the glasses and measures in the UK, and the glass sizes, especially at parties, are anything but ‘small’

  26. As an Adoptive Mom of a Son with Static Encephalopathy caused by prenatal alcohol exposure I can assuare you unless you have raisied a child born with permanent brain damage you have no idea the lifelong challenges this child will face. Our 20 yr old Son has the maturity level of a 9-10 yr old. He graduated High School on a 3rd grade level. He won’t get a driver’s license, get married or be able to have a family or live on his own. Anyone who believes that i’s ok to have a glass of wine or beer once in awhile during their pregnancy must not care at all about their unborn baby. I have met many Parents of the years who are raising a child with FASD and they have had to resort to putting thier child in a Psychiatric Hospital or Residential Center for help because very few States offer any Services to help them live in the Community. Families have been destroyed because of the stress and constant chaos from the mentally disabled child. Our Jails and Prisons are full of people with FASD and the Criminal Justice System isn’t sympathetic at all since this isn’t the appropriate place to house them. So before anyone of you commented that it’s fine to have an occassional drink while pregnant just remember that the alcohol kills your baby’s developing brain cells and when they are born their brain isn’t fully developed and the normal size it’s supposed to be. The challenges Parents face raising a child with FASD is not something I would wish on anyone because your Dreams can be easily Shattered as ours has been.

  27. It is very concerning that ANYONE in 2013 would say it is OK to drink during pregnancy. AND FASD/FAS IS NOT ONLY FROM HEAVY DRINKERS! We all hear what we want from research, but as many have said, raise a child impacted by alcohol exposure and you may think differently. And, yes, things could seem normal for quite some time, but as the child ages, the differences will become apparent. Your life will be filled with special education meetings, the heartbreak of social exclusion, and you will deny your child of many things. They will have difficulty academically, socially and emotionally in various ways that will alter your life forever. Maybe someone needs to also take a look at themselves if they are unable to resist alcohol for 9 months for the sake of a child………..If I were seeing a doctor who said it was oK, I would run for the door as fast as I can.

    • Joy,

      One of the weird things about FASD is that one woman can drink like a fish as still have a normal healthy baby and another woman have next to nothing and get a kid with FASD. Recommendations are based on statistics. Some people get snake eyes.

      As I commented above, some cases of FASD might actually be ASD. (Some people have tried to claim the reverse.)

      France for the longest time had a no more than one drink a day recommendation and Britain had a two to three drinks twice a week recommendation. They changed this in the last couple of years. I think in one part because they are jumping on Americas puritanical tenancies. The other part is that most places that serve have double or triple portions.

      I heard that this one lady said she only had two drinks a day. They were 40’s.

  28. As a long time reader (and of course will continue to read as it’s okay to disagree though not most of the time :)), I am sad to read your post’s title. Maybe per the study someone actually can drink alcohol, but should they? Is it worth the risk? Would your headline be, you can actually eat hydrogenated oils, pasteurized milk, aspartame, MSG, etc.. while pregnant? Probably not. Because maybe small amounts of those things won’t harm a baby either but why advertise it as such? Plus, it gets pretty sticky when trying to define a small amount and common sense. A diet soda a day, sure that doesn’t seem like much to someone who usually has 6 diet sodas. But, to me that is way to much. I’m just trying to say, though not very eloquently, that trying to make this stuff gray doesn’t help. I don’t see how commenters above who are staunch against alcohol in pregnancy are any more judgmental than those who say no to all of the above ingredients during pregnancy. I just encourage you to look at this from a different perspective.

  29. I am constantly amazied that physicians that would tell pregnant women not to consume alcohol will seemingly without a second thought prescribe multiple rounds of Vicodin/Lortab for various aches and pains to be taken several times a day for weeks/months.

    These same docs will say that some (but not all) of these women are addicted are that withdrawing is dangerous in pregnancy. I don’ t know but often these are babies who then withdraw and have to be transfered to a university hospital to have IV medications to safely withdraw from the narcs.

    Common sense is lacking in many areas.

    • Totally agree. There are also doctors who are concerned at the growing numbers of women wanting abortions because they had a drink before knowing they were pregnant.

  30. Babysit my daughter (who doesn’t officially have FAS, but is definately affected by her birthmother’s lifestyle) for two hours and you will never be tempted to drink while pregnant.

  31. WHY!?!?!?! Would you even suggest condoning and act that can cause a completely preventable birth defect?? You obviously don’t deal with FASD on a daily basis. You obviously don’t parent a child who rages daily, whose brain shifts with little or no warning to an inaccessible place filled with confusion and frustration and anger and pain. You obviously have NO IDEA what it is like to try to parent and teach and comfort a child who is intelligent but whose birthmother thought JUST A LITTLE BIT WOULD BE OK and who can’t understand WHY his brain doesn’t work right. Why he can learn things, completely understand things in class, follow along just fine, but then later be completely incapable of recalling what he learned. He knows he learned it before but now it’s gone. Over and over. You don’t parent a child who is likely to live at home until he’s close to 30 years old, or beyond, because of the delay in his maturity caused by JUST A LITTLE BIT OF ALCOHOL DURING PREGNANCY. You have no idea how painful it is to watch your elementary-school-aged child fly into a tantrum fit for a 2-year-old while their friends physically distance themselves from him and wonder what is wrong with him? You have no idea. Scientists have no idea. Idiots doing studies from afar have no idea. We moms know. We suffer and support each other and absolutely HATE when people like you say, “Go ahead! Take the risk! It’ll be fine!” Why? Why? Why? 9 months is an incredibly short amount of time to sacrifice the taste of alcohol.

  32. Be careful what you read. This author did not do their homework. One drink at a particular time can cause facial deformities, memory problems, cognitive delays. I teach math and am a data geek. Do not trust this advice. PLEASE. I will introduce you to my two kids who have FAS and you can explain to them that their mom’s three drinks didn’t cause their FAS.

  33. Listen to your body? Really. What happened to using all of the information your brain has accessed? There are many many documented cases of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders as the result of mothers who drank very little. That’s a fact. There are huge populations of people in the world, yes even in Europe, who are living undiagnosed but suffering with the effects of maternal drinking of all kinds of amounts. As long as people like yourselves, put their happiness first, and “listen to their bodies” instead of humbling themselves to face the overwhelming evidence, the problem of permanent brain damage in our innocent children’s lives will continue to grow at the alarming rate that exists today. Read the research which is funded and performed by those who have nothing to gain financially: ; ; ; …..

  34. I am outraged at the comparison between drinking alcohol while pregnant and eating seafood. Since the author of this blog was only talking about drinking while pregnant, let’s stick with the subject. Check out , , as a few sites with CONCRETE INFORMATION as to why women should not drink when they are pregnant.
    Some comments have indicated its a woman’s choice to drink while pregnant, its her RIGHT, but her BABY is not making the choice. Would you hand a drink to your 2-year-old in a sippy cup? How about a nice baby bottle of wine for your six month old? The alcohol goes unfiltered into the fetus and its a crap shoot as to what damage you will do to the body and the brain on that particular day.
    I have three adoptive children, all with various manifestations of FAS. I dare you to spend one evening with my kids and tell me that their mother was making a GOOD PERSONAL CHOICE when she drank while pregnant. My daughter has been severely learning delayed since birth, my other two have symptoms which really didn’t kick in until around 4-5 years. The behaviors associated with this disability and the organic brain damage caused by alcohol permanently bar them from learning and behaving like their cousins and peers who don’t have the disability.
    The brain damaged caused by a mother’s drinking cannot heal. No magic wand or surgery or medication can erase the damage.
    I dare you to talk to my 11-year-old who rages against the unfairness of damage done to him that he had no control over. I dare you to listen to the heartbreak of my daughter who cannot keep up with her 9-year-old peers and sobs because she is so different and just can’t keep up. They KNOW why they are different and they KNOW who did it to them.
    So stop spreading lies and causing harm to unborn kids.

  35. You would be heartbroken if you spent a day in my shoes…if you watched my children who have FASD and who struggle in so many devastating ways. You heart would break, as mine does each day, to have played russian roulette all for a glass of wine or two with your child’s brain…with their future.

    • aaron choline is nothing to do with fasd its alcohol, come and look after my 2 grandsons for 1 hr and see how angry and frustrated they get because they cant do something, they are only 5 and 7 they were diagnosed at 3 and 4 by genetics what has that got to do with choline

      • And you know it has nothing to do with it HOW? You don’t, in fact. Even our genome is not static (they used to think it was, but newer research says otherwise). Such things as nutritional deficiencies can and do change our genes.

      • Also, my 5 year-old gets angry and frustrated when she can’t do something, too. And she taught herself to read when she was 3. This is NORMAL behavior for kids that age (And, yes, I DO have both college and experience in development and learning in young children)

  36. This kind of dangerous discussion is certifiable. I am mortified to think that anyone would play gambling games with the innocent life of a child, and advertise it as harmless. My twin adopted children, suffer daily the effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, due to the wreckless behavior of their birth mother. Something we cannot fix. They have irreversible brain damage and one has had 30 surgeries due to parts in wrong places and some not at all and doubles of others and lives with a colostomy and a catheter. I’ve almost lost her more than I care to remember. No one knows how much is too much, or when it will strike, but my children and my whole family will live with what happens when it does and it is 100% preventable. To purposely take a risk like that is abusive and no different than any other child abuse and child endangerment, is horrifying. If you can’t give up drinking while pregnant, please do not have children. Shame on you for putting so many children and families as risk by spouting such ridiculous claims. How dangerous.

  37. I am going to get flamed beyond belief for this one, but here it is: The idea that all that is going on with FAS is maternal alcohol consumption simply does not make historical sense. The human race would have died out centuries ago, if this were the case, as it used to be that wine and beer were consumed in the way that we now consume water or maybe soda. The research is saying that light to moderate alcohol consumption is safe, yet some of you posting here are saying you have or care for children who were harmed by just a few drinks during pregnancy. I think that the person who was wondering about choline deficiency is onto something. Maybe it’s not choline, but it really does sound like someone ought to be researching a possible nutritional deficiency that makes a developing baby susceptible to damage by the mom consuming even a small amount of alcohol.

    (One also wonders if any of these children are NOT vaccinated. FAS that doesn’t show up in babyhood would be an awfully handy label for what is actually vaccine damage. Vaccine-caused autism is brain damage, too, after all)

    • You truly need to take an anthro class before you spout this stuff. I can’t even respond to your comment about not vaccinating children. Holy Shit. Are people really this stupid?

    • Heather, you are truly clueless. Why don’t you check your facts before you go spouting off such nonsense or better yet, visit families who are dealing with children who have FAS. I have a few friends who have adopted children with FAS. Because their biomoms drank during pregnancy, their lives are so much more complicated. This could have been prevented if they had put their child’s needs above their own.

      • heather it was around 100 years ago the children were the ones labelled village idiots read up properly on fasd, alcohol is evil for what it does to a unborn baby, if it was invented now would most probably be banned alcohol blights so many peoples lives

      • I’ve actually worked, in both school and residential settings, with FAS children. I DO happen to know facts, and that what some put out as “fact” simply doesn’t jive with history. Go to the links I posted above and get some documented FACTS about historical alcohol consumption.

        Also, Linda might consider doing some reading about the documented negative effects of vaccination and how our medical establishment works hard to sweep them under the rug.

    • When the my daughter was the age for vacines the MMR had just started being used and you couldn’t get them seperately. My doctor advised me not to have it done as he said it hadn’t been used for long enough and he was not sure that there weren’t any side effects. She didn’t have it.

    • Yes, people used to drink much more alcohol.

      And the majority of people were uneducated, illiterate, bad at math, and not noted for their higher level decision making. So exactly how are you saying that you know there was no FASD?

      Actually the higher level of drinking was by more wealthy people… and the sterotype of idiots born to the gentry has a basis in what people observed in real life.

  38. This is in response to Heather who stated that FASD did not make historical sense given the use of alcohol throughout history-

    Please read this collection of data from throughout history that shows FASD is nothing new –

    The puzzle did not fully come together until the 1970s when Fetal Alcohol Syndrome was named but FASD has been around as long as alcohol and pregnancies have existed together.

    Also, please remember that people with disabilities were kept at home or hidden away in institutions until this century. We are just now starting to understand the scope of this problem and even with our current understanding of the damage done by alcohol use during pregnancy, FASD is still misdiagnosed as many of the conditions noted on this chart-

    Alcohol is, by far, the most damaging of the drugs commonly used during pregnancy. The journal Pediatrics published an article on Feb 25, 2013 entitled “Prenatal Substance Abuse: Short- and Long-term Effects on the Exposed Fetus” ( ) that compared the damage done to the fetus by prenatal exposure to nicotine, alcohol, opiates, marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines. Look at the chart on the bottom of page 1016 that clearly shows that alcohol is more damaging to the fetus than any of these drugs. Yes, you CAN use alcohol during pregnancy….by WHY would you?!!

    • I’m not talking about 50 years ago. Before the temperance movement of the 1800’s, the average American’s liquor consumption was such that everyone would fall into the “heavy drinker” category–including children. Making water into wine or beer helped to kill bacteria and make it safe for consumption. Yet, the researchers think that people actually had higher IQ’s in the 1700’s than the do today. For example, the Constitution was NOT written in hard-to-understand legalese. The language of the Constitution was what Joseph CiderJug could read in his newspaper and understand easily. The knowledge depth and breadth of the Founding Fathers was astounding, and I can think of very few modern people that I would say have their mental agility. Yet their mothers consumed alcohol daily while pregnant, and it was a part of their daily lives, even as small children. Yes, there were people with disabilities, but, if we go by what we are told about alcohol and children now, there wouldn’t have been many people WITHOUT disabilities, and we know that’s not what happened.

      This being the case, there HAS to be something more going on, if we are having kids being harmed in utero by a New Year’s Eve toast. Human biology doesn’t change that much in less than 300 years, and no other theory makes sense.

      • You are compairing apples and oranges.

        The alcohol level was much lower back in the “good old days”.

        The world that we are living in now is so different from the 1800’s. My FASD son would probably function much better in that world than in todays fast pace.

      • I’d like to see the studies, Heather. Got any stats on that? Any papers to cite? No, didn’t think so.

        • Studies on what? What people drank in the 1700’s? Go read history. There is, in fact, any amount of evidence, up to and including the records of the amounts of beer Washington and Jefferson made for home use. That normal people 300 years ago drank hard cider, beer, and wine like I drink iced tea and water is not a matter of any historical dispute.

          In many cases, the booze might have been watered down, but no the alcohol content could NOT have been below a certain point–and I am surprised to see such a comment on a list of people whom I would expect to be familiar with the process of fermentation. And a couple or three pints of “small beer” over the course of a day every day would still be a lot more alcohol than a few glasses of porter or stout over the course of a pregnancy. Also, even with modern beers, alcohol levels vary–and the higher-alcohol modern beers were actually more likely to be standard fare among colonists of English descent–porter, stout, etc, are traditional English beers, while the lighter lagers and such are traditional German brews. The various sorts of beers have largely been brewed to specific standards, including alcohol content, for many centuries. The current German standards for beer ingredients and alcohol content, for example, date from about the 1400’s.

          Some of that research I can’t cite (plenty more at google):

    • Alcohol is the damaging of drugs use during pregnancy… so you’re saying it causes more damage than a nightly crack pipe? chain smoking? cocaine?


      • Yes, Abbey. Unbelievable as it sounds, YES- alcohol is more damaging to the fetus than cocaine, tobacco, marijuana and heroin. Please read the Pediatrics article cited above and consider this quote from the 1996 Institute of Medicine Report to Congress- “Of all the substances of abuse including cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, alcohol produces by far the most serious neurobehavioral effects in the fetus resulting in life-long permanent disorders of memory function, impulse control and judgment.”

        • You know… I’m reading, and reading, agreeing with points, alcohol is bad, and then something like this.

          a few glasses of wine (as per the article) is worse for a growing baby than a heroin addicted mother.

          • Chris, did you read the information I linked to? Did you look at the chart in the Pediatrics journal article? When comparing the damaging effects of the substances on the developing fetus (not the dosage comparison of a few glasses of wine vs. heroin addiction, which obviously includes nutritional deficits, exposure to HIV needles, etc…) alcohol is a more damaging substance than heroin.

            I did not say in any of my posts here that two glasses of wine will cause FASD. What we can say for certainty is that there is no known safe level. We know that there are many factors that come in to play, including mom’s health, other drug use (the combination can enhance the damage done by the alcohol), resiliency of the fetus, timing and dosage factors, etc… I simply wanted to help women make the healthiest choices by giving them the information I have had to research and learn over the years.

            I wish you all well and I appreciate the passion and willingness to discuss this difficult subject together.

  39. My little boys birthmom didn’t drink that much – she simply didn’t have the money to get the booze. He has fasd and our whole family suffers every day with the effects of it.

    Another family member of mine drank in moderation while pregnant. Now she drags her son to all kinds of doctors wondering what is wrong with him, even though he has classic FAS signs. She won’t even consider that is the issue, I don’t think she could accept the fact that maybe she did this to him.

    If all the people who believe that a little bit is o.k. would live with these kids and adults for a day, they simply wouldn’t take the chance.

    I’m not being judgmental. I am just trying to save someone else from such suffering. Why take the chance?

  40. Great comments by all above (I can even excuse the rudeness of some given the sensitivity of the subject for those living FAS-impacted children). Though initially I was intrigued by the referenced study, my views evolved as I read through the posts. I am now of the opinion that though some mother’s metabolism may be able to safely handle a small amount of alcohol, many won’t. And without being able to be certain which side of the line you fall on, it simply isn’t worth the risk.

  41. It is not only irresponsible but dangerous to be giving misinformation to the public that states it is o.k. for pregnant mothers to be able to drink while pregnant.
    NO amount of alcohol consumption is o.k. during pregnancy. How the baby is affected depends on the mother’s genetics, when she drinks, her age and other factors. Do you realize that by the time you get a little tipsy from the alcohol your baby is passed out? Scary thought! Alcohol is by far the most dangerous drug you can take during pregnancy. I wish you could have seen how our adopted son shook and screamed for a whole week at birth and see him today as he struggles to keep it together everyday. I am on an antidepressant because he turns our lives upside down (aggressive behavior, impulsive behavior, poor social skills, poor sense of safety awareness, low self-esteem and much more). But, it’s not his fault. It is the result of his birth mother’s irresponsible decision to drink while she was pregnant. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is for life! It does not go away! It is PERMANENT brain damage! Yes, brain damage. Do you really want to gamble with your baby’s life?

  42. My mother was pregnant with us in the late 60’s. She got pregnant with twins on New Year’s Eve and would occasionally have a cocktail. By no means was she or has she ever been a heavy drinker. Brothers are in their mid 40’s now. One still lives at home with mom and dad, and is at the maturity level of a 12 year old, still has temper tantrums, can’t hold down a job, and is now an alcoholic. The other lives independently but does have a lower IQ, the maturity level of an 18 year old, and can’t hold down a job, as simple tasks get to overwhelming…including bagging groceries. They have never been diagnosed with FASD because that was never a diagnosis back then. Instead the 12 year old is “hyperactive” or ADHD. The 18 year old simply has a lower IQ.

    I am a mother to 4 adopted children. 2 have been formerly diagnosed with FASD. My 8 year old daughter has little impulse control and poor executive functioning. My 7 year old son is filled with rage. I can guarantee that no one wants to babysit our kids. It’s too hard. We go to bed exhausted every night and live the same days over and over and over, because simply daily things like brushing teeth, or using the toilet get forgotten overnight.

    I have seen effects from my own mother’s alcohol consumption which was very very very moderate. I have also seen the effects of my kid’s birth mother’s alchohol consumption.

    9 months without alcohol….why take any risks?

  43. Wow! truly shocking & appalling article along with incorrect brain damaging, possibly a few baby death causing advice, I do hope you can stand tall taking responsibility for your actions & personally support every child who will grow up with so many difficulties they need support for the rest of their life because of your baseless highly irresponsible article.

  44. In the last year I have become well educated as to the effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. One outstanding fact I have learned is that each body receives the effect of any amount of alcohol differently. Thus it’s a gamble to have one drink during your pregnancy because you don’t yet know what kind of body you are forming in your body. Who would want to take such a chance with a forming human being, one’s baby? The resilience of each child occurs prenatally and as a woman carrying a child, you are responsible to go out of your way to insure that your baby is healthy. Mothers constantly compare their children and we have all learned that each responds differently to their experiences. Why do some children get ear infections and strep throat and others of our children never do even though they have the same exposure? This is after they are born – without so consider what is being set up while they are in the process of forming – within. What wouldn’t you do for the health of your child? Don’t take a chance… can do without a drink during your pregnancy……….and if not, ask yourself why? Consider your unborn child first. Oh, and one more note. I have a friend that is concerned that her child may have an FASD, not because he has extreme behavior or that he isn’t doing well in school, but because of his prenatal exposure. She told me how she & her husband always thought he was very smart and then he got to high school and everything became more difficult — he studies hard to make Bs and Cs. I’ve learned through IQ testing of my child whom we suspect has an FASD, that a child can be well over normal (and many FASD children are) and that many of us wouldn’t notice that they could have excelled more, had we not inhibited their formation during the birth cycle because we had a drink that affected their brain development.

      • Seriously, Abbey? You think that’s it? That’s all the thought you will give to your poor baby when you poison it? I don’t mind if you aren’t an A or B student? How about my child, he can’t function in the world at all. He can’t read social cues, he tantrums because the world is so confusing. I’m so sorry you can’t stop for 9 months to give your child the start in life it deserves.

        • tut tut Linda, making assumptions doesn’t bolster your argument, it just makes it lacking anything of substance.

          This is about a specific child, who is perfectly fine, apart from not being an A student, so of course he has to have something wrong with him, it couldn’t just be that he’s simply not an A student.

  45. My little boy is very smart. He gets A’s and B’s in a mainstream classroom. He can’t function socially. He can’t read normal social cues. He has trouble with impulse control. He tries very hard to be accepted and gets so upset with himself. It is heartbreaking.

  46. Holy Crap. Alkies will say and do anything to keep on drinking. Oy. I am so sorry for your baby. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) says there is no safe amount of alcohol you can drink while pregnant. Why would you risk it? Don’t you love that baby more than your drink?

    • There you have it folks. Linda Q read it on the CDC website, so it must be true.

      She also knows that you don’t love your baby if you have a glass of wine. Maybe she’ll adopt your child after you ‘poison’ him/her and she can spend her time online telling other mothers how evil they are as her newly adopted child has x, y and z.

  47. Even occasional drinking can affect the brain development of a developing child. My daughter’s biological mother only drank one alcoholic beverage once per month of pregnancy and my daughter is severely affected. There is just no way to be safe enough except to abstain completely, which isn’t really that much to ask to ensure zero risk of alcohol related disabilities.

    • I’m surprised at the one theme here..

      All these adopted children or children in foster care whose mothers were (clearly ‘ahem) upright citizens who only partook in one of two drinks, yet, enough to give their children devastating mental problems. Yet, all their kids were taken off them?

      • Yes, and most foster kids end up heavily medicated and I’m sure that has nothing to do with their behavioral problems (eye roll) . . . antipsychotics also permanently change the brain but standard western medicine says it’s “safe.” Totally hypocritical. Studies show GMOs also affect birth weight and mental ability but very few doctors warn expectant mothers of this.

        • Our youngest foster child has FASD and mum was a heavy drinker. She was put on psychotics when she came to us, but all she wanted to do was sleep so I took her off and refused to give them to her (she’d only been on for three days). Last year they wanted her to go for psychiatric assessment (because she’s not good at maths for all the stupid reasons) together with one of our others (not FASD but other problems). Took them to the place and when I saw it refused to have them admitted (the village doctor backed me up).

          I am expecting problems this month cos she has to have another medical (foster kids have to have full medicals every six months). Yes, it’s not just kids in care, it’s any child who isn’t considered ‘normal’. Another child was taken by his mum, when she saw him next day she took him out, but being over here, paid for a certificate to say he’d had treatment.

  48. It is true my daughter’s mother was unable to parent due to many issues, but that is not what we are discussing. My daughter has permanent organic brain damage which has been linked to prenatal alcohol exposure. I understand that there are people out there that have drank and their child has not been notably affected, but there are so, so many instances where that was not the case. We are not trying to take away your freedom of choice, but rather we are trying to be advocates by stating that what you believe to be safe may not be safe 100% of the time so please make an informed choice.

    • Of course it is what we are discussing. The author isn’t saying drinking binges are okay, or daily drinking. it’s very very mild drinking.

      Yet, it would be safe to assume that someone who is incapable of looking after a child of their own or having the child taken off them are not the type of person who would have one to two glasses of wine in their pregnancy.

      • the only way to prevent fasd is NO ALCOHOL, fasd is 100% preventable are people so selfish to thier unborn child that they cant refrain from alcohol for 9 months thats not long and whilst replying even when breat feeding you should not drink alcohol as your babies brain is still developing

  49. There is no safe amount of alcohol that can be drank while pregnant. Drinking while pregnant is like playing russian roulette! Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is rampant in this country and many others (like where the studies were done)! The difference is here we are more open about how bad the situation is. The other question I have is who paid to have these studies done? If paid for by alcohol industry this study is rather biased wouldn’t you say? This is absurd! These studies followed for 5 years. Children with ARND develop more problems as they get older and more is expected of them such as when they start school…. this causes permanent lifelong brain damage!

  50. Take an egg and put it in a glass of alcohol and see what the result is. Would you put alcohol, even a little, in your newborns bottle? Then why is this even an issue. No parent would put alcohol in a bottle so why would you put it in you, so that it passes straight thru to your unborn child? Why would you eat or drink anything that is a poison (yes, alcohol actually kills brain cells) while pregnant? Makes no sense.

  51. So what kind of Degree do you have KELLY the kitchen cop , cracker jack box? WE who are actually educated in FASD , know better and spend countless hours trying to support moms and kids of parents that drank ‘only a little bit’

    • You just don’t get it if they drank “ONLY A LITTLE, TEENY BIT” what the heck else di they put in the their pie whole? I not just the booze!!!!

  52. Why don’t the mothers who drank during pregnancy post photos of their children and we can see which ones show facial characteristics of FASD?

    • The baby’s head and face develop during the 5th and 6th week of pregnancy. Drinking alcohol during this short period of time results in the facial stigmata generally associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The brain develops throughout the entire pregnancy. A child can be born with normal (or nearly normal) facial features and still suffer the neurodevelopmental effects related to prenatal exposure. My oldest daughter has some, but not all, of the facial features associated with FAS. Her philtrum is indistinct. Her eye openings when they are measured and compared to what is “normal” are small. Her eyes appear small. And, my daughter is stunningly beautiful. I have had many people tell me she doesn’t look like she has FAS. Yet, her IQ is borderline. On some of the subtests on a standard IQ test, she scores in the bottom 5th percentile. She has an absolute deficit in executive functioning. At 21… she has every single secondary characteristic associated with FAS. There is another generation of prenatally exposed individuals, my grandson.

  53. This is not a competition “P”, I really hope you’re a young troll & not someone who is in denial about a child they have brought into this world with many problems but no facial features due to use of alcohol.

    A child can have an FASD without any facial features whatsoever, it’s a big myth that there needs to certain facial features to suffer with a FASD.

    People can & do suffer severely with FASDs without any noticable facial features.

    • Actually, I just spent some time researching this. FAS is a syndrome with hard diagnostic features–things that can be measured, such as the facial features. FASD, on the other hand, is a catch-all. The measurable criteria of FASD need not be present, and the other diagnostic criteria are of the fuzzy nature…and are roughly the same as the not full-blown autism parts of the autism spectrum. In both cases, the diagnostic criteria are fuzzy enough that over diagnosis/misdiagnosis is almost certain to be a problem, especially as some of those criteria could easily also simply be age-appropriate behaviors (check outthe list of things from which 3 are enough for a diagnosis, even without other, measurable issues–several of these categories are issues that normal young children normally have). And, in both cases, encephalopathy is often the culprit…which is a well-documented vaccine reaction. The brain swells, and brain damage occurs.

      Diagnostic criteria here:

      Some sense here: Apparently, even among hard-core alcoholic mothers, only 32% of babies are born with FAS.

      This reminds me much of the old “refrigerator mother” theory of autism.

      • If you read my post you will see I actually said FASDs Heather, It’s funny you should say it’s similar to Autism – you know what Autism is sometimes very similar to an Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder too, could partly explain the huge increase in Autism rates.

        Very few cases of Autism are entirely genetic but just like FASDs they think that some fetus are more susceptible to environmental toxins depending on genetics & not just to Alcohol – though Alcohol is one of the most harmful if not the most harmful & people choose to drink during pregnancy (or sadly in some cases do not realize they are pregnant) it is entirely preventable though. I wonder if some cases of Autism could be caused by Alcohol consumption or exposure to other environmental toxins at a very specific point in pregnancy – very early on & then no more exposure, who knows?

        In so many cases people who end up with an FASD diagnosis were first diagnosed with Autism, ADHD etc & then end up with the absolute cause of these symptoms/diagnosis a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, in many cases FASD does meet an Autism diagnosis partly but Autism is also quite “fuzzy” & it’s sometimes a really helpful diagnosis because in many places the services are not in place for people with an FASD but they are for people with Autism.

        The vaccine theory has been dis-proven again & again I think it’s total rubbish – although if someone already has a compromised immune system because of damage in uteri it probably doesn’t help, the damage/defect has already occurred though so it probably just takes them a lot longer to recover from multiple vaccines.

        They think Bisphenol-A found in some plastics might be a big factor in many birth defects but these differ to defects caused by Alcohol. Also women taking anti consultants/mood stabilizers during pregnancy were told they were safe & now there are many children with brain damage & physical defects because of the use of these drugs during pregnancy

        The point is FASDs are entirely preventable, many mothers in the past were unaware, even told it was OK, they never intended to harm their baby & they shouldn’t be made to feel bad about it at all.

        If you’re here now & reading this & know the risks though why would you choose to still drink even a little Alcohol during pregnancy? this is a persons whole life you are messing with, a defenseless fetus you are supposed to do everything to protect & you want to pour wine, beer or spirits down it’s throat?

  54. I am raising an adopted son with FASD. So my angle was that if people think drinking during pregnancy is really OK, let us see their photos and see if they have signs.

  55. I think we all need to remember this book is actually being released by a person people trust, amazingly it even hints at binge drinking being OK as well as light drinking due to some very poor studies, no amount of Alcohol is safe.

    Kristen Michaelis is the author not Kelly, thousands of people will be reading this book without these comments to guide them. I hope Kristen will remove this section & include a leaflet about FAS with this book, but I’m dreaming. It would be great if someone more able could contact Kristen, Amazon & wherever else it is on sale…

  56. No problem Helen. My son has permanent brain damage to in utero alcohol exposure. He also suffers from sensory issues, ADHD, dysgraphia, neurological damage, and low IQ. Although he is handsome and most people think he is ‘normal’ he struggles everyday to appear that way. He is kind hearted and wants to do his best and please his teachers. He is smart enough to know that he has problems and that makes it very painful to see him try to hide it. There is no history of how much alcohol his birth mother drank. If I had done this to my son by having an occasional glass of wine or beer, I would not be able to live with myself.

  57. Kelly,
    A very bold post… and thank you for it. I personally never drank during my pregnancies, but primarily because I was a tee-totaller at the time. Since my children have grown up, I very much enjoy a good glass of red wine. Looking back, I probably would have chosen not to drink anyway, but I’m not surprised at the study results. After all, as some have pointed out, many of our ancestors drank a little alcohol from time to time with no ill effects. In my case, I suffered from severe nausea for the first six months (4 times) and bad heartburn for the last three, so I even gave up my coffee (gasp!)… it just didn’t taste good to me any more. My body knew what it wanted and what it didn’t want.

    If nothing else, getting this new insight into light/occasional partaking will at least help me feel better about my daughters’ (and granddaughters’) occasional alcoholic “indiscretions” while pregnant.

    Thanks for sharing this somewhat controversial information.

  58. We’re raising a 6-1/2 year old daughter we adopted who has FASD (code 1423 from clinic in Seattle!!). I cannot begin to describe how difficult this is- on her and our entire family. I have never been much of a drinker anyway but I haven’t touched alcohol since 2008. There are so many other things to drink besides alcohol!!!!

    I gave birth to a daughter (now 22 months) in 2011. I started prenatal vitamins 3 months before becoming pregnant.

    It’s only 9 months!!!!! Why in the world would you care to risk the life of your child?? 9 months. Just abstain!

  59. I’d also like to point out that back in the 60’s people thought smoking was okay…it calmed their nerves. Well, we all know now that smoking causes cancer and many other health issues.

    Many “back in the day” didn’t realize how bad drinking while pregnant was for them. Wow, I wonder how many of those unruly children I went to school with actually had FAS.

    I’d also like to think that when we know better, we do better. Why subject an innocent child to a life of diagnoses, treatments, possible RTC’s, and a greater risk of living a life of crime, etc.? It’s not worth it.

    Children today grow up with so much more stress than we had to endure. Why add this to the list? This is preventable…..

  60. The author’s comment that a study found no damage in the fetus/child from binge drinking is particularly damaging. Fetal Alcohol Damage is OFTEN caused by binge drinking, and is sometimes caused by moderate social drinking, actually likely much more often than is officially damaging. (Not only by heavy daily drinking.). If the author wants to believe that a drink or two drinks a week is fine- that is her belief, but it is irresponsible and dangerous to put it in print. There is documented literature (and children growing up with plenty of difficulties) that show that ANY binge drinking is Russian Roulette. You may not see direct damage- but you certainly can and sometimes do. Full FAS can be caused by ONE binge. The alcohol basses freely to the placenta and into the infant’s blood stream. It ALSO remains in the placental fluid twice as long as in the mother’s body, thus affecting the fetus of longer duration.

  61. This isn’t a matter of “if you let them have one drink, they’ll have 10”. It’s basic biology.

    A fetus is constantly growing and specialized cells are divide and building.

    One of the cells that are affected are “Radial Glial Cells”. These are found in the brain and have a cell body and an extension. The cell body is towards the center of the brain and the extension grows outward. Other neurons “climb” the extension like a beanstalk. When just one of these cells are damaged, it affect 5 LAYERS of brain tissue. Since these cells are throughout the cortex, an insult at 1 time can cause multiple sites of damage which causes a “swiss cheese effect” where some areas are damaged and others are not.

    Progenitor cells are near the bases of the radial glial cells. These Cells divide to create another progenitor cell and one specialized cell. These are the cells that climb up the radial glial cells.

    Alcohol is one of the FEW things that cross the blood-brain barrier. Alcohol can cause brain damage in a few ways:

    First, alcohol can kill cells buy destroying the cell wall or inactivating enzymes within the cell.

    Second, Alcohol prevents cells from reproducing.

    Third, alcohol prevents cells from climbing to the proper location.

    These cells are so tiny and it doesn’t take contact many alcohol molecules of alcohol to interrupt normal function.

    We want to believe that tiny amounts won’t hurt because, well, it’s a tiny amount but consider a botulism bacteria. A man touched infected juice with his tongue (after it didn’t smell right) and rinsed it off immediately. Within an hour he had lost his function to breath. His blood was take and injected into 12 mine. The 6 that were treated with the antitoxin lived and the other 6 died. That tiny drop was enough to kill an adult and the trace amounts in his blood were enough to kill 6 mice.

    Tiny amount of things reach cells and cause damage. Alcohol is no different.

    • Well said.

      It only takes a little damage on a developing brain to have lifelong effects.

      Even if those effects are not measurable by testing in 5 year olds.

  62. I also drank red wine during my pregnancies.
    Italian gynecologists used to prescribe a glass a day to keep iron quantities high during pregnancy! (until it became politically incorrect to do so, obviously)!!!
    Salute! Rebecca

  63. No different physically than filling the baby bottle with wine or beer after birth. It seems incredibly selfish that a mother would not choose to give up alcohol during her pregnancy. Is it THAT big of a sacrifice compared to the heavy challenges, sadness, and extraordinary dignity that FAS outcomes require of all involved?

  64. Studies show with absolute certainty that 5 of 6 people playing Russian roulette have no ill effects!!

    The problem with drinking *at all* during pregnancy is that you don’t really know where the alcohol will go. MOSTLY there is no effect to a little alcohol on the little baby. But do you know exactly what is happening to your child as you drink? What cells are dividing, what part of their brain and neurological system is growing NOW and could be effected NOW?

    Something else we KNOW is that alcohol has a depressive effect on cell function and can even poison some cells, most notably brain cells. So is that glass of wine so very important that you will risk whatever brain function is developing right now in your child? After all it *probably* will not have any effect, and if it does then it will *probably* be overcome as the child continues to grow and even if not then it *probably* will not be in an important function area that would show up on tests when she is 5 years old. And with 6 cylinders in the revolver, the one you pull the trigger on will *probably* not contain the bullet.

    Each individual cell is so very important to fetal development. Any damage can lead to serious difficulties. Yes, the baby will try to overcome any damage, and can be amazingly strong and resilient. But why risk it at all? Why tempt fate with the future of your child?

    NO ALCOHOL is a much better policy. Easier to enforce (*wait, is this glass 4 this week? Or 6? That glass at the restaurant Friday was a pretty big glass, does it count for 1 or 2? And how exactly does a beer equate to your small wine glass measure?!?) And the only option guaranteed to have NO chance of having any bad effects on your child.

  65. Copy & pasted from Kristen Michaelis (the books Author) site if anyone feels that contacting her might change things, she is an “enlightened” foodie so it might be like talking to a brick wall.

    By Email

    info AT FoodRenegade DOT com
    (looks funny, I know, but it helps prevent spam)

    By Snail Mail

    Kristen Michaelis
    1312 E. Third St.
    Georgetown, TX 78626

  66. I look at it this way, if you wouldn’t put an alcoholic drink in your baby’s bottle, why funnel it straight to him in utero? As the adoptive parent of a child with FAS, it has not been easy watching her almost daily struggles because of the damage her mother did by drinking during her pregnancy. I see all these pregnant mothers being vigilant about exercising, food intake, diapers, breast-feeding, playing soothing music, etc. Why throw all that effort out the window by drinking? Your baby’s brain is still forming! Alcohol kills brain cells every time you drink, and not just yours. While as adults we have millions to spare, your baby may not. Make that choice for yourself, but give your baby a chance to make it for himself some day.

  67. Even though this has turned out to be a controversial post, I still appreciate all Kelly does in this blog. She is helping us go against the grain in this sometimes crazy world of ours…..
    Before reading about 1/2 of the comments above (busy night, can’t read them all) I would have been inclined to think that the few drinks I had during each of my pregnancies were fine. But now I am not so sure. If God blessed us with another pregnancy, I would choose NOT to drink anything. As many people said, “why risk it?” It is a preventable birth defect which has horrible consequences.
    Sue E.

  68. Hey Ladies, Wondering who would be interested in taking nephew for a week??? You seem to know all about F.A.S.! I’d love you all to FEEL the absolute “joy” of not being able to add or subtract numbers higher then 9. Doing first grade spelling words and being in the “special ed class”. Classmates looking at him and laughing because he doesn’t get it. Has no idea about time…..Is it morning Auntie…..night-time is only when it’s dark….right? My heart has broken a thousand times for him…..just ONE F.A.S. kid. Why you ask….because, IT DIDN’T HAVE TO HAPPEN AND HE’LL NEVER GET BETTER. “Kitchen Kop”…..people are stupid enough, without your STUPID COMMENTS!

    • Sorry, forgot to mention….. he’s 12yrs. old and we’re so proud of him…..he’s progressed to 1st grade math AND reading!

      • If we’re so very stupid, why are you here? No one here has said that FAS doesn’t happen…it’s just painfully, tragically, plain from what people who have come here to stomp all over this post have said that it is grossly over diagnosed. It seems to be an awfully convenient catch-all for problems that are maybe something less politically correct, like vaccine reactions. “Oh, the kid has problems and Mom maybe smelled a bottle of wine during pregnancy? It’s gotta be FAS!” How many mothers have lost custody of their kids over not much more than a New Year’s Eve toast…with a kid who does NOT have any measurable features specific to FAS? How many mothers have been given an intolerable load of guilt that they are going to carry throughout their lives, because some doctor is diagnosing a chromosomal disorder, a nutrition issue like celiac disease, a vaccine reaction, or something else (say, heavy metal poisoning), ANY of which can have much the same list of symptoms, as the popular, easy to diagnose and then NOT have to try to fix, FAS. (Dr. doesn’t have to help with this one–he gets to pass the buck to the school system and drop the load on the parents.) The prevalence with which some on this thread are saying that FAS happens, and the ease with which it occurs simply defies logic and history.

  69. Heather, it is very difficult to get a dx of FAS. If you research you will see how many things have to be going on before any doctor gives that dx. I agree that many things can be going on, and most doctors will require further testing to rule out any other possible issues going on. Now, with that being said, many other co morbid issues are going on with children that have FAS (as they do with children that have Autism). Looking at the info from the outside, it would seem beyond logic. Then again, so does the amount of children that have Autism. I really don’t think anyone, doctors or parents, would want to label a child with FAS when indeed something else is going on.

  70. These are two new studies conducted that states the opposite of what that book states. The study states that minimal drinking during pregnancy is harmful. That children at age 11 who’s mothers drink have lower IQs, etc. It’s a longitudinal per reviewed study that looks at a child from birth to 11 years old. I can not believe a book is written stating that alcohol is okay to drink during pregnancy. Very irresponsible of the author to not do further investigation. Please pass these citations on to the author. Thank you.

    Sayal K, Draper ES, Fraser R, Barrow M, Davey Smith G, et al. (2013) Light drinking in pregnancy and mid-childhood mental health and learning outcomes. Arch Dis Child 98: 107–111. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2012-302436

    Alati R, Davey Smith G, Lewis SJ, Sayal K, Draper ES, et al. (2013) Effect of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure on Childhood Academic Outcomes: Contrasting Maternal and Paternal Associations in the ALSPAC Study. PLoS ONE 8(10): e74844. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074844

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