Drink, eat, and be pregnant!

At the Daily Mail, a newspiece has caught the attention of Diggers.  The article, which is adorned by a lovely photo of a pregnant woman apparently offering her stomach some wine, advocates pregnant drinking, on the basis of a new study released recently by NICE:

Instead of cutting out alcohol altogether, pregnant women should limit their intake to 1.5 units a day and, if possible, avoid it in the first three months of pregnancy.

A small glass of wine counts as one unit, as does half a pint of ordinary strength lager, while a bottle of alcopop counts as 1.5 units.

A NICE spokesman said it was anticipated the Department of Health would issue ‘clear advice’ on the issue when the final version of the NICE guidance is issued next March.

However, the Department of Health said its advice to avoid alcohol all together was ‘straightforward’ and ‘simple’.

The article then bounces quotes back and forth between the opposing parties, all the while giving the slight edge to the “reasonable” NICE representatives.

I am no scientist. I have to say that the author’s position is a little wonky to me. I agree with the statement by the department of health: Their instructions are clear and simple. The author states many times that the two different opinions will only confuse women, but what is more confusing is why the women are confused at all.

Here’s the department of health’s argument in a nutshell: While it is possible that a little bit of alcohol could be okay, there is no absolute, conclusive evidence for just how much that limit should be. Even the article concedes that there may be some risk in what NICE says, by quietly moving past one of their discoveries:

After reviewing a series of studies on drinking in pregnancy, the NICE advisers, who include doctors and midwives, said that other than possibly increasing the risk of miscarriage, it appeared small amounts of alcohol did not harm the unborn baby.

Wait, wait wait. “other than possibly increasing the risk of miscarriage?” The sentence jumped off the page at me; the author deliberately avoids it.

The truth is that even NICE cannot say for certain just how much alcohol is acceptable. The department of health gives the simplest advice going: Stay away from alcohol, and there is no risk. They are not “confusing” anyone. Rather, if anyone can be accused of confusing the populace, it is NICE, since they released the fact that it is possible that some alcohol is okay. The department of health’s statement is irrefutable. Stay away from alcohol, and there is no risk.

I always have believed the same thing in regards to sexual behaviour. We were taught in school all of the different forms of prevention. However, each teacher admitted that abstinence was the only 100% safe way to go in avoiding STDs and pregnancy — some because they truly believed the message should be taught, and others because it is mandated by the school board. And the argument in that case is the exact same as the department of health’s. Stay away from sex, and you will not get pregnant or infected. Stay away from alcohol, and there is no risk.

So, to those women out there who are confused about whether or not you should drink or not, my advice would be to stay away from alcohol.

That way, there is no risk!


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