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09.2014

Massachusetts Beverage Business

Health

WINE, PREGNANCY AND GOOD HEALTH

Drinking while pregnant has not been advocated by the medical community (although many OBs will say a glass here and there is ok). But, a Danish study has found that drinking a small amount of wine during pregnancy is linked with other healthy behaviors like exercising and maintaining a healthy weight, suggesting there are other factors to consider on whether drinking is acceptable for pregnant women. The study involved 63,OOO pregnant women in Denmark. Women who drank a small amount were more likely to exercise and have a normal body mass index compared to women who didn’t drink alcohol. They also watched less television, ate more fish and consumed less soda. “Women who drink and women who do not drink in pregnancy are very different on a large number of characteristics,” Janni Niclasen, a psychology researcher at the University of Copenhagen, told LiveScience. Pregnant moms who drink may think, “’I’m doing everything else right, so the occasional drink may not hurt’,” Niclasen suggested.

While the link between heavy alcohol consumption and health and developmental problems in children is well-established, mounting evidence is now suggesting that the picture may be different for light drinking. In another recent study, an international team from Ireland, England, New Zealand, and Australia compared birth outcomes among 5628 women who were pregnant for the first time between 2OO4 and 2O11. Findings showed that drinking small amounts of alcohol during and even beyond the first trimester of pregnancy didn’t seem to raise the risks of premature delivery, low birth weight or high blood pressure for the mother. Those findings were published in October’s journal OBSTETRICS & GYNECOLOGY. Still, some experts urge that since the evidence is still not crystal clear, women should avoid alcohol altogether if they are pregnant. But, as Harvard Medical School’s health b log points out, some respected health agencies, such as the UK’s Department of Health, greenlight one drink a few times a week while pregnant.

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