Is Binge Drinking OK for Moms-to-Be?

And he says that even though the scientific evidence appears to be neutral, a binge-drinking episode is too much by any measure for an expectant mom. "Certainly these women should avoid binge drinking, and I don't think that a single study should reverse a whole culture of caution," he says.

Additional Risks of Bingeing

But what if pregnant women who binge drink really do get off scot-free? Zurawin says that even if the potential issues of alcohol's effect on a fetus are set aside, binge-drinking may be problematic for a mother-to-be.

"From a philosophical perspective, pregnancy is a time when parents should begin setting aside their own impulses and start directing themselves to what's best for the baby," Zurawin says.

He adds that binge drinking is known to increase the risks of other situations that might put a fetus in danger -- such as car accidents or drug use.

Still, he says, for those women who do fall off the wagon sometime during the nine months before their child is born, the study may provide a slight measure of peace of mind.

"If a pregnant woman happens to go out and get ripped, they don't have to be overcome with guilt that they have created a damaged baby," Zurawin says. "But by the same token, this should not be seen as a license to go out and get drunk.

"What a woman should take away from this is that if she is planning to get pregnant, she should do her partying ahead of time and behave while she's pregnant."

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