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06.19.2013

Drinking Wine While Pregnant: The Latest

preggo_wine.pngA couple of the most commented on and most controversial posts I've ever written were entitled Wine and Pregnancy: The Facts, which referenced an article by the late Israeli wine critic Daniel Rogov about the subject, and a post entitled More on Wine and Pregnancy, which reacted to a more recent article in the news. Both of these posts still get comments today, many years after they were written. Of course most of them are people decrying how horrible it was to encourage people to have a glass of wine while pregnant.

You see, here in the highly moral society of America we've decided that somehow it's our business what other people are doing to their bodies, and in particular, we feel entitled to all but dictate to pregnant women what they can and cannot do, all in the name of our "concern" for the unborn child that is not ours.

Strangely, in a society that is ever mistrustful of its government, where the Surgeon General's warnings about cigarettes go completely disregarded, we hold one of his proclamations to be gospel. Namely that drinking any alcohol while pregnant harms the fetus.

This, of course, is a load of horseshit, to use a technical term. Just ask women in all the other countries around the world who are free from the shackles of American medical and moral conservatism and regularly have an occasional glass of wine while pregnant because that is part of their culture.

No, despite mountains of statistical evidence to the contrary, America continues to believe that having a glass of wine while pregnant is a risky thing. All because a bunch of studies were done decades ago with alcoholics and binge drinkers who ended up having kids with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and then those results were extrapolated to the general public, and served up as proof that drinking while pregnant puts the kid at risk.

Almost as amazing to me as this fact, has been that for the last 10 years there have been practically no attempts by rational, scientifically minded scholars, researchers, or doctors to correct this misguided notion.

Well thanks to a few Brits, we've now got what looks to be (you can never be certain just by reading a news story) a fairly well conceived and executed study proving that having a glass of wine with dinner a few nights a week is just fine, ladies.

And (BONUS!!) not only is it just fine, but if the study in question is actually correct, occasional moderate drinking during pregnancy actually leads to more physically coordinated kids! That's right. If you want to gestate a future gymnast, then red wine with dinner is your ticket.

Of course, I'm not giving advice here, nor encouraging anyone to go against the advice of those who are qualified to give it (your obstetricians) but if your OB is anything like ours, they've probably told you surreptitiously that a glass of wine might actually do the mother some good on occasion.

I encourage you to read the story, and decide for yourself, of course, but it's nice to see a real scientific study countering decades of misinformation.

Read the full story.

And if after reading this your inclination is to write a comment here about how I'm going to rot in hell for telling women to engage in behavior which will deform their children, trust me, I've heard it all before and you can save yourself the effort of writing a comment which I'll just end up deleting anyway.

Bottoms up, moms!


Photo of pregnant wine drinker courtesy of Bigstock.

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The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud