We're moving into uncharted territory, folks.
In our brave new world, telling women not to drink when pregnant is “sexist” and causes “needless anxiety," The Telegraph reports.
Pregnancy charities and researchers have called for a change to the “alarmist” official Government guidelines, which warn expectant mothers to avoid alcohol completely.
They say the policy has no basis in evidence and ends up “stigmatising” women and excluding them from society.
Studies have shown that consistent heavy drinking during pregnancy can result in foetal alcohol syndrome, which can cause physical developmental and learning difficulties.
But here's the thing: researchers say that there is no "robust evidence" a few drinks now and again -- or even a black-out drunk night -- actually causes long-term damage to the baby.
Experts at the University of Kent and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) are claiming that public policy towards pregnant women has “gone down an overtly precautionary route” and that the Government “needs to be honest” about the evidence.
But last night professional bodies defended the current position.
Last year the Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, was accused of scaremongering when she issued updated formal advice on alcohol consumption for all adults, reducing the recommended weekly intake from 21 to 14 units for men, and advising pregnant women not to touch alcohol at all.
The previous guidelines had expecting women not avoid alcohol but noted that if they did choose to drink, they could not consume more than 2 units once or twice a week.
And so, when a pregnant woman gets hammered, she feels bad because of all the studies that say consuming alcohol during a pregnancy does harm the baby. And that causes "anxiety."
Clare Murphy, the organisation’s director of external affairs, said: “There can be real consequences to overstating evidence, or implying certainty when there isn’t any.
“Doing so can cause women needless anxiety and alarm – sometimes to the point that they consider ending an unplanned but not unwanted pregnancy because of fears they have caused irreparable harm.
“But just as importantly, it assumes women cannot be trusted to understand risk, and when it comes to alcohol, the difference between low and heavy consumption.”
On the other hand, the newspaper notes that "accurate data on the the effects of moderate alcohol consumption during pregnancy is almost impossible to achieve because it would be unethical to initiate wide-scale studies which compared the outcomes for children of drinkers to those of non-drinkers."
So we'll just drop this right here, from the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
According to the CDC and the U.S. Surgeon General, “There is no known safe amount of alcohol to drink while pregnant. There is also no known safe time during pregnancy or safe type of alcohol.” According to the American Academy of Pediatrics: “There is no safe amount of alcohol when a woman is pregnant. Evidence-based research has found that drinking even small amounts of alcohol while pregnant can increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, prematurity, or sudden infant death syndrome.”
But let's keep things in perspective. It's most important that pregnant women not feel over anxious about their drinking.
"Expectant mothers concerned about their levels of drinking during should be supported by midwives in a 'non-judgemental way,' " Janet Fyle, a policy adviser for the Royal College of Midwives told the paper.
We swear we did not make up that last sentence.