I’m in my fourth month of pregnancy—can I have a glass of wine or not? First I see that “experts say” to drink no alcohol during pregnancy, then I see that other experts say it’s OK to have a glass of wine once in a while, then I see that a daily glass of wine is fine. Help!

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I understand your frustration. There is definitely disagreement among “experts.”

In a recent study of 1,600 Danish children at age five—whose mothers drank either a small amount of alcohol daily or drank five or more drinks early in pregnancy—the children of drinking moms performed just as well on mental tests as did children of nondrinking mothers. Heavier drinking will cause problems, however, such as fetal alcohol syndrome.

Then there’s the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which recommends doing without the booze for all nine months. The reasons for such caution include the following:

  • A safe limit has not been established.
  • A safe limit may vary from one woman to the next.
  • Some women have difficulty limiting themselves to just one drink.

Talk to your obstetrician; he or she will have an opinion on the subject. If you still don’t know what you should do, just don’t drink until after your baby is born. Alcohol probably won’t even be an issue during the first trimester; many women get “morning sickness” (and afternoon and evening sickness) and don’t want to drink, so you’re probably facing only six months of abstinence.

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