Newschannel 6 Exclusive: Drinking While Pregnant - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Newschannel 6 Exclusive: Drinking While Pregnant

A recent British study published in the journal of epidemiology and community health found no negative effects of light alcohol consumption while pregnant.

This goes against what most doctors have been telling their patients for years.

"I'm honest with them and tell them small amounts may not be harmful but that I can't recommend any amount I know to be safe, therefore, the best thing to do is to avoid it all together," Dr. Michael Lamar said.

The tests were done on more than 11,000 five year olds and suggest light drinking during pregnancy did not lead to signs of developmental delays or behavioral problems such as hyperactivity.

In fact, these kids scored slightly better on cognitive tests.

Dr. Lamar is with the Clinics of North Texas and says that doesn't mean drinking in pregnancy is good for your baby.

"The most important thing that came out of it, was rather than say those children scored better, the best thing to say is they didn't score any worse. The children of parent's who were moderate drinkers, certainly not any kind of binge drinking, that those children were not intellectually damaged in any way," Dr. Lamar said.

In the study, light drinking means one to two drinks a week.

But, Dr. Lamar said there's no proof of how much is too much.

"We don't know if there's an amount you can drink safely and above that point you'll always have damage, or if in fact, it is accumulative, the more you drink, the more damage you do," he said.

One thing doctors do know for fact is heavy drinking can cause major harm to your baby.

"Babies who get Fetal Alcohol Syndrome usually are patients who drink on a daily basis or three or four times a week," Dr. Paul Hurst said.

"Fetal Alcohol Syndrome affects the child's neurological development, their intellectual development and physically. They have a certain facial look you can see if it is severe. Mostly developmental and intellectual impact that's so important," Dr. Lamar said.

We wanted to know what Texoma mothers thought about this.

"I would never touch a drink at all, whether or not I was pregnant, but certainly not while I as pregnant," Amy Carroll said.

"I think it is a personal choice for the mother to make, but during my pregnancy I choose to refrain from drinking alcohol," Ruth Denman said.

"I haven't done that because it's my first one and I'm more freaked out doing anything wrong or anything like that so, I have chose not to drink anything," Cagan Davis said.

Denman and Davis when not pregnant, would consider themselves social drinkers, but said it was an easy choice to make.

"I was really sick the first five months so, it was very easy. So, but I don't think it would be hard for anyone," Davis said.

"People will ask if they can have a glass of wine here and there. We usually tend to say no, but we know it's not going to be very harmful if it is only once on occasions," Dr. Hurst said.

While many women may take this as a sigh of relief, Dr. Hurst and Dr. Lamar just hope they won't take it too far.

"There is always that concern that someone will read this and say well you know what two drinks a week didn't hurt so four drink a week will be fine and four drinks a week is fine maybe four drinks a day is fine. That is a concern and it has to be stressed by physicians and nurses that whatever the study said, it was very specific on how many drink were safe and not to go extend that," Dr. Lamar said.

If you'd like to take a look at the study for yourself, click here.

We also have a conversation about this topic already started on our Facebook page.  To share your comments, click here

Lindsey Rogers, Newschannel 6

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