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Health Watch: Drinking Alcohol While Pregnant Debate

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Pregnancy Drinking
stephanie-web Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3 and The CW Philly 57’s Emmy Award-win...
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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Drinking alcohol has been a big taboo for moms-to-be. But a growing number of pregnant women are shunning the “no drinking” policy, and the new research is backing them up. 3 On Your Side Medical Reporter Stephanie Stahl explains.

April Peveteaux prides herself on being a good mom. But what April did during her pregnancy is what sets her apart, and is stirring up controversy.

“I would have an occasional glass of wine or a beer, which some people frowned upon. It was completely fine, and had zero affect on either one of my children,” said April

It’s recommended women don’t drink alcohol while pregnant. But a new study shows babies born to light drinkers, those who had a glass of wine about five ounces or about 16 ounces of beer a week, had no added risk of emotional or behavioral problems.

“It may or may not be okay. The reality is we just don’t know if it’s okay, and how much you can drink during pregnancy and have a normal development outcome,” said Dr. Mary O’Connor, an expert in the field. She says it’s how you break down alcohol that’s important.

“If you’re a slow metabolizer your child is in more danger because it takes longer for the alcohol to leave the woman’s system. You might be the lucky one that gets away with it, or you might be the unlucky who lives with a child with a developmental disability.

“If anyone came here for a day and saw Alex, they would understand why it’s not okay to drink” said Joeli Gutfleisch, Alex’s mother.

Joeli and her husband, Greg Gutfleisch, adopted Alex when he was eight months old. Now at seven, Alex has been diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome.

“A lot of these children don’t understand cause and effect. They don’t have good judgment, poor impulse control, so it’s heart breaking. It didn’t have to happen. It makes me angry, and I feel people are ignorant. And I don’t understand why somebody would risk the development of their own child with one drink,” said Joeli.

About 40,000 babies are born every year with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. It’s the leading cause of mental retardation.

RELATED LINKS:

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Information

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Information

Reported By: Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3

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