Should women drink?

According to a new CDC recommendation women of child bearing age should avoid alcohol unless they are on birth control. What do you think of this recommendation? cite:

Up to them, no?

Apparently FAS is one of the leading causes of birth defects in the US, and 5,000 to 12,000 American babies are born with it every year. But 4 million babies are born every year in the US. So unless my number are wrong, that’s around 0.3% of babies get FAS. That’s still too many, and it should be a concern, but I don’t know if telling all women of child-bearing age to not drink unless they are on birth control will do any good. It’s unrealistic and condescending. You could start arguing for a lot of things that women shouldn’t do because there’s a chance that they could be pregnant and it could affect the baby.

I’d think a better solution would be better access to birth control and better education for it. The problem is not necessarily that women drink, it’s that a large number of pregnancies are unplanned. If more pregnancies were planned, then a lot of those women will not only stop drinking in preparation, but likely also take pre-natal vitamins and do other stuff for their health that will help with pregnancies.

Should we treat any adult humans as less than adult?

How do you feel about someone dictating what you can eat or drink, when you can go outside in the daylight, and so forth in the name of public health?

Women should be informed of the risks, then be allowed to live their lives. People of either gender and many ages take risks that may have potential long-term consequences, women of child bearing age shouldn’t be singled out for restrictions. Not to mention that doing so is reducing women to essentially being wombs with legs rather than whole human beings. Notions of doing such are abhorrent.

Even in your link the CDC is not expecting everyone to follow their recommendations, which are just that, recommendations.

Truth is, it’s not casual drinking that’s the big problem here, it’s heavy drinking and binge drinking.

Exactly what Broomstick said.

I’m not sure what you’re basing this sentence on. It contradicts the CDC’s own statement in the very article linked in the OP, as well as other studies.

And perhaps I’m misreading, but I thought the OP’s question was about whether women should make the choice to drink given the information in the article. I didn’t think anyone was suggesting women not be given the choice (which is not to say that there aren’t people out there who would take that stance).

Wow, good intentions or not that makes the CDC sound really bad.

“Unless they’re on contraception.” Shouldn’t the recommendation be to use contraception if sexually active?

Generally speaking, the worst time for alcohol is during the late first/early second trimester. I have heard of pediatricians allowing small amounts of alcohol during the third trimester, especially if it reduces stress which may be a bigger factor to the infant’s health.

We already dictate whether you can drink and drive. We don’t just inform people of the risks and allow them to live their lives.

Plus, as I understand it, the CDC is recommending, not dictating. Informing women of the risks is precisely what they’re doing.

If the risk (of FAS from even mild drinking) is great enough, what they’re recommending makes perfect sense. Whether that risk is, in fact, great enough is worth debating and investigating. If it isn’t, they’re being alarmist and unrealistic.

Maybe I should say that the question isn’t “Should there be a law prohibiting women from drinking?” Rather it is “Is it wise for women not on contraception to avoid drinking.”

Not if they want to have a baby.

It might sound better if they said “If there’s any chance they might be pregnant” rather than “if they’re sexually active and not on contraception,” but it amounts to the same thing.

I was curious, and it looks like this was the original post on the US Health and Human Services site, and here are their recommendations:

Pretty general guidelines, all sound fairly reasonable to me. The problem is the websites that pick up the story and sensationalize it, with headlines like “More than 3 million US women at risk for alcohol-exposed pregnancy” and "The serious problem for millions of women who drink."

But even so, I still wonder why the CDC’s recommendation are more regarding drinking. I would think one of the recommendations to Health care providers were to let their patients know about birth control options if that is relevant.

I’m a big drinker, I still have a few years left on my clock and am not on any kind of contraception. Thankfully, Mistermage took care of that (about the time I made noises about “Let’s have a 4th child” … I didn’t want another one but was tired of being the one doing the safety dance).

I would get behind a campaign that informs women about the dangers of drinking and pregnancy as long as it included all types of contraception being offered for free. All because some women can use X but not Y, free because why should only women bear the cost and then leave it as a choice.

It’s not a law, it’s a recommendation, and it’s a damn good one. There is plenty of evidence that even small amounts of alcohol are a problem in the very early stages of pregnancy. I can’t understand what anyone finds offensive here.

Yes, it is true that there is no safe level of alcohol in pregnancy, particularly early in pregnancy (honestly a woman at 39 weeks is unlikely to damage her unborn child if she has a glass of wine as by then the kid does have a functional liver. Still not a good idea for the mom to get drunk, though).

However, more alcohol at any one point in time increases the risk, and more episodes of drinking increases the risk. A woman who has a single glass of wine at a family dinner once a month is far, far less likely to have a child with FAS than a woman who has multiple drinks per day, or who gets smashed every weekend. More alcohol is associated with a more severe effect on the fetus.

The only way to avoid FAS entirely is to not ever drink. We tried Prohibition, it didn’t work out too well and we decided to reverse it.

The biggest risk, again, is to the children of women who are either active alcoholics or binge/heavy drinkers even if they don’t have alcohol addiction problems.

Technically speaking, you ARE allowed to drink and drive… up to a point. What is illegal is drinking to a particular point (measurable) or beyond and then getting behind the wheel. Driving impaired is illegal, not driving if you drink so little it is not impairing.

Personally, I have chosen not to drink at all if I’m going to be driving, but that’s a personal choice and not a legal requirement.

A lot of it comes down to risk to other people.

Of course, if a woman is pregnant we are talking about risk to another person - but the greatest risk of FAS is with women are unlikely to stop drinking even if alcohol was entirely illegal. Advising women not to drink if they might become pregnant will reduce the incidence in women for whom refraining isn’t a problem. It won’t do jack for actual active alcoholics.

I think that’s what the experts are most concerned about. If people are using alcohol while trying to get pregnant, then the issue isn’t just too many unplanned pregnancies, and improving access to birth control may not help much.

Another interesting quote:

5% of all schoolchildren sounds alarmingly high. I’d like to know how they calculated that figure.

I would, too.

Certain traits are associated with FAS, but I’m not entirely sure that is the sole cause of some of them.

Should men drink?

No, imo. It causes liver damage and bad judgment.

Speaking as a lesbian who used to be fertile, they can get bent. More invisibility for us, you don’t fuck men so your health issues are not relevant enough to be addressed.

Regarding the CDC recommendation - How about this instead, 'men who are fertile must use contraception every time they engage in sex with a fertile female", seems fair.

Here is what my last obstetrician told me (20 years ago). There is a safe level, but nobody knows what it is, and nobody will ever know what it is, because this is just not an experiment that can be done on humans. You can probably have a glass of champagne at your friend’s wedding but don’t tell anyone I told you that, it’s not the party line.

All the studies on FAS have been based on amounts of alcohol that were self-reported, hence statistics indicating it doesn’t necessarily take much. This are people who are self-reporting their alcohol consumption, and you already know they had some because their babies are affected. I don’t know if anyone has sat down a bunch of mothers with normal babies and asked how much they drank while pregnant.

Her take was that one glass of wine with dinner, even every day, would probably be fine, but really nobody knows. Her take was that more than one drink a day was not fine, and getting drunk was definitely a no-no. It was her educated opinion that you had to drink kind of a lot, and probably on more than one occasion, in order to trigger FAS. This was not what she told most of her patients, though–she told them to just not drink alcohol, at all. She was also a friend of mine so she knew I habitually don’t drink much.

Obviously, women should have the information that drinking can be dangerous to the baby, but who doesn’t know that? (My daughters-in-law were not eating feta cheese and whole bunches of other stuff, whole lists of things that I would never have thought of, when they were pregnant. I mean, come on–feta cheese?) The people who don’t know it are stupid people and if they have stupid babies it may not be alcohol that’s wholly at fault here.