Recent studies have suggested drinking while pregnant might not be as dangerous as women have long been led to believe, or may even be beneficial—but, troubled by these plus other recent studies finding that a surprising number of women do imbibe while pregnant, the American Academy of Pediatrics is out with a new study that strongly declares: Don't do it. At all. "During pregnancy: no amount of alcohol intake should be considered safe; there is no safe trimester to drink alcohol; [and] all forms of alcohol, such as beer, wine, and liquor, pose similar risk," the study states. That's because, researchers explain in a press release, alcohol intake while pregnant can result in a wide array of problems from growth retardation to developmental delays and learning disabilities to problems with the brain, heart, bones and spine, kidneys, vision, or hearing.
Dr. Janet F. Williams, one of the lead researchers, tells Live Science that much attention is paid to fetal alcohol syndrome—but even if your child doesn't get that, he hasn't necessarily escaped scot-free. In fact, there are any number of so-called fetal alcohol spectrum disorders that are linked to drinking while pregnant, and any time a child experiences a delay or a behavioral disorder, she explains, an FASD could be to blame—but FASDs are more difficult to diagnose than FAS. The new study points out that more than three decades of research links alcohol intake while pregnant with birth defects, she says, far more than any evidence suggesting it's no big deal. The bottom line, she says: "No alcohol use during pregnancy guarantees that fetal alcohol spectrum disorders will not occur." (But at least you don't have to worry too much about drinking while breastfeeding.)