As more studied emerge and continue to confuse an already complicated dialogue, it can be hard to know who to listen to. Although the standard wisdom of limiting (or eliminating) alcohol during pregnancy is still good advice to follow, recent findings suggest that, red wine might be permissible in small amounts.
Research now suggests that up to moderate alcohol consumption in pregnancy is less dangerous than was once thought, but binge drinking, heavy drinking, or alcohol use disorder put the fetus at risk for developmental disorders, learning disabilities, and FAS. So, is it worth the risk? Here are a few facts and myths to help you learn more about red wine and pregnancy.
1. Red wine has been shown to increase fertility
If you’re not yet pregnant, but are hoping to become, a study was published earlier this year that might be of interest to you. A report published in March by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, showed a positive correlation between ovarian counts in women and moderate red wine consumption.
The findings indicated that drinking more than five servings of red wine per month is associated with increased antral follicles (microscopically small sleeping eggs in the ovary). This is relevant because the antral follicle count is currently one of the factors that doctors use to determine fertility.
2. These findings came as a surprise
Although the results are not hugely significant in the broader context of fertility, it is interesting to note that researchers were actually expecting to find the opportune to be true. The researcher’s original hypothesis was to observe the way in which alcohol reduced ovarian egg counts.
When in fact, they found the opposite to be true. Although wine wasn’t the only beverage tested, some women drank beer and others drank spirits, it did prove to have the strongest correlation. Researchers have yet to determine why wine performed better than other drinks.
3. Drinking while pregnant can have negative effects
That being said, once you’ve actually become pregnant, red wine poses certain risks. Some types of problems during pregnancy and birth are linked to alcohol, despite the fact that they may not be classified as strictly alcohol-related birth issues. These include everything from miscarriage to slower growth in the womb, premature birth and low birth weight.
4. If you drank early in pregnancy by accident, you shouldn’t worry
Although there are real risks, there are much more pronounced later on in pregnancy. So if you drank alcohol accidentally or when you didn’t know you were pregnant, don’t worry. Once you’ve confirmed you are, avoid drinking alcohol and chances are you will be fine. In the event that you’re struggling to give up alcohol, contact your doctor — there’s help available.
5. At best, research is mixed
Although you will be able to find studies telling you that red wine is ok during pregnancy, always keep in mind that research is mixed. Medical experts don’t seem to be able to agree on exactly how much alcohol is safe. Due to the fact that “light” drinking may mean different things to different people, the findings remain inconclusive.
6. There are many other ways to decompress
It can be hard to find an alternative if you’re used to having a glass of wine at the end of a long day. Not to mention the fact that pregnancy comes with an entirely new set of concerns to worry about. That being said, you do you need to find a temporary solution while carrying your child.
Try replacing your evening glass of wine with a cool glass of coconut water or your favourite herbal tea. Don’t forget that these days will go by fast and you’ll be enjoying your favorite beverage again before you know it.