October 31st, 2008
10:27 AM ET

Cosmos after conception?

By Jen Pifer
CNN Medical Senior Producer

After a particularly grueling editorial meeting a few years ago, one of my colleagues turned to me and said, "I need a drink." Now that's not an uncommon sentiment in many newsrooms, but in this case, it was kind of funny. My colleague was hugely pregnant and she meant it. We laughed, but I got the sense she felt a little bit guilty saying that. After all, who wants to be known as the pregnant woman who drinks?

Truth be told, I understood where she was coming from. Sometimes, a girl just needs a cocktail.

The issue of drinking while expecting comes up often with my other pregnant friends. One told me she asked her obstetrician about it. She says the doctor told her a drink now and then wouldn't hurt the baby. But he was quick to add that he was not recommending it. Another friend of mine was out to dinner when she was six months pregnant and ordered a small margarita. The waiter served her, but not before looking at her big old tummy.

There's a new study out today that is likely to get people talking. British researchers found that children whose mothers who drank up to one to two drinks per week or per occasion (for example at a party or on Christmas Eve) while pregnant are not at an increased risk of behavioral problems or cognitive deficits. It is important to point out that the study did not look at the physical problems associated with drinking while pregnant.”

The researchers are very quick to point out they are not out to set new guidelines; they just want to add to the debate. This has been a huge issue in England. Last year, the Royal College of Obstetrics said drinking one or two drinks once or twice a week is unlikely to harm your baby. (See Study) British public health officials say expectant mothers shouldn't drink, but if they do, it should be with great moderation. (See Study) In the United States, it's all about abstinence. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says drinking at any stage of pregnancy is a terrible idea. (Read More)

Now that the experts have weighed in, I am curious to know what you think. Is it ok to drink a little bit of alcohol while pregnant? Would you do it? Have you done it?

Editor’s Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.