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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dr. Oz, Pregnancy & Alcohol, and Science

Update: October 20, 2015, interested readers should follow this link,

______Original Post________

I watched an episode of Dr. Oz this week where they were discussing alcohol and pregnancy - "Is it safe to drink when you are pregnant?"
A guest M.D. on the show, Dr. Tara Allmen, an Obgyn, said that there was a "brand new study" that said a "glass or two of wine" might be safe to drink when you're pregnant; she also said that she still recommends that people not drink at all during pregnancy, but if they do choose to drink, that they should limit themselves to 1/2 a glass of wine or a "spritzer" and avoid drinks that have higher alcohol content.

So, the doctor refers to a "new study" that says it's okay to drink some during pregnancy, but she still recommends to not drink during pregnancy, but then adds that if you do drink, don't drink much.

Which recommendations do you follow with confidence? 
Why refer to this one new study that says it's okay to drink, 
but then still recommend that people not drink?

Here's my opinion:

1. If you are going to base your behavior on scientific research about the safety of drinking during pregnancy, then don't drink any alcohol at all.

2. Never assume that a "new study" is better than an old study. A new study is just another study in a long line of studies on a specific issue. No one should ever go by the results of the most recent study or one study. The experts have to look at all the studies together, and see what we have learned.

3. Some scientists take the view that:
"What is correct or true for a few people now will be correct and true for everyone in the future."

This may be true for things like gravity, but it's not true for things like drinking during pregnancy. Studies only study a few people, maybe 100 or even 2,000. But there are 6.5 billion people in the world.

It may be true that millions of fetuses will not be affected by alcohol, but millions of others will be, and to date, there is no way to know which fetus will be affected by alcohol and which will not. Are you willing to let your fetus be a subject of your own personal experiment with alcohol during pregnancy? Did you read the "study" first hand? Are a medical doctor and a scientific researcher the same? Not usually!

4. The fact is that there are children who are born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Effects. It's a devastating disorder. It's just not worth the risk!
So, be careful about how doctors or others use studies to make recommendations about how you should behave or live your life. Scientific studies have been the basis of all human progress since 1543 (when we learned that the Earth moved round the Sun), but when it comes to issues of health, we need to be cautious with how we proceed.

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1 comment:

  1. oh my god why do people drink alcohol when they're preggers!!!!