The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently published a list of guidelines for pregnant women and drinking alcohol, which some people consider they are too strict.
A CDC Vital Signs report says that drinking alcohol and having sex without any birth control measure, has put more than 3 million US women at risk of exposing their developing baby to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). These are physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities that last a lifetime.
Some women do not know they are pregnant until they are 4-6 weeks into the pregnancy, which means that some women are drinking alcohol and maybe affecting their developing baby without knowing it.
The report also said that 3 of 4 women who are trying to get pregnant, do not stop drinking alcohol. They recommend that women who are pregnant or might be pregnant stop drinking alcohol. They ensure that FADS are a 100% preventable is the baby is not exposed to alcohol before birth. Alcohol screening and counseling can help people to drink less.
The guidelines recommend women to stop drinking alcohol if they are trying to get pregnant or could get pregnant, ask for support when deciding to stop drinking alcohol and ask for advice and help to a health care provider.
Strict and unreasonable guidelines
Some people are considering these guidelines to be strict and unreasonable since they are not only trying to protect fetuses, but also potential fetuses. It seems to be a little bit crazy to try to protect something that maybe is just not there, which sounds like what the CDC is suggesting.
The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) president Tom Donaldson says that he understands how the message has gotten confused. He agrees that the guidelines might confuse and cause anxiety in pregnant women which can be harmful to them and their babies.
However, NOFAS officially supports the CDC’s policies on alcohol and pregnancy since they are meant for prevention.