Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Since alcohol during pregnancy was a recent topic of conversation here, and since a lot of similarly worded Internet searches bring folks to this site, I thought I'd post this, which I saw in this week's Post:

Even moderate drinking may affect a child's intelligence.

THIS STUDY analyzed data on 611 pregnant women and the children they bore; about 53 percent of the participants were black, and about 47 percent were white. At age 10, the children were given a standardized IQ test. Among the black children, those whose mothers drank moderately (two to six drinks a week) while pregnant scored lower on the IQ test than did children who had no prenatal exposure to alcohol. This association was especially strong for those who drank during the second trimester. Among the white children, no association between drinking and IQ was found.

* * *

CAVEATS Women in the study were classified as having low socioeconomic status; findings may not apply to other women. The authors indicated that the absolute effects of prenatal alcohol use on cognitive development were small but would have "real-life consequences for children." They also wrote that the difference in effect between racial groups was not related to differences in the rate of drinking and probably was "mediated by genetic differences, although social and environmental effects cannot be completely ruled out."

It was the headline that threw me. I guess I have different definitions of "moderate" drinking, depending on whether the drinker is pregnant or not. When I saw the headline, my brain defaulted to "moderate drinking while pregnant," which in my mind is no more than a drink a week, and certainly not almost a drink a day (6 drinks a week is "moderate" according to the study).

Now that I think about it, even when I think about moderate drinking in general, I still think no more than 4 drinks in a week.


Anonymous Genevieve said...

I saw that too, and thought of your blog discussion. "Moderate" didn't throw me, but you make a very good point. I've heard of "moderate" drinking for non-pregnant people (women and men) described as, for example, a glass of wine a day, so the article's listing 6 drinks a week didn't jump out at me. But you're right, for pregnant women I think of "moderate" drinking as being maybe once a week, and "occasional" drinking as being one drink a few times per pregnancy. "Occasional," to me, is the kind I've heard of as not being dangerous to the fetus.

But I'm a less than occasional drinker myself, so it wasn't a notable sacrifice on my part when I was pregnant. It was much harder to refrain from eating fresh mozzarella and feta cheese.

2:51 PM, June 01, 2006  
Blogger liz said...

What Genevieve said.

Although, nobody told me about avoiding soft cheeses and I never would have thought of mozzarella as a soft cheese (I would only have thought of brie, which I don't eat anyway). So it turns out I ate soft cheese throughout the pregnancy. Yipes!

5:40 PM, June 01, 2006  
Anonymous Genevieve said...

Different docs really do seem to focus on different things. Mine mentioned the soft cheeses, and I'd had a pregnant friend a couple years before who'd skipped a hummos appetizer I brought b/c I mixed feta into it, so it was on my mind.

I just about lived on shrimp California rolls through my pregnancy (and other forms of protein hidden in starch, like Vietnamese summer rolls), and went l'a la la I can't hear you' to my thoughts that the sushi-makers were using the same gloves to make them that they used to prepare raw fish. But it was Sushi-Ko, and I trust them.

10:40 AM, June 02, 2006  

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