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Monday, May 5, 2014

Don't Just Avoid Alcohol in Pregnancy, Avoid All Alcohol?

Women and their obstetricians have been re-discussing how much alcohol is safe in pregnancy. ACOG says no amount of alcohol is safe in pregnancy, if we are talking about avoiding fetal alcohol syndrome. Most gynos have said that such a restrictive policy isn't really backed up by research and small amounts are unlikely to cause harm. Now  primary care physicians for women, who have been advocates for some alcohol for benefits like heart protection,  may be telling all their patients that 'no amount of alcohol is safe' for them as well. The 2014 World Cancer Report (WCR), issued by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has now backed the restrictive policy due to the finding that there are very strong links between many cancers and the consumption of alcohol. Actually in 1988 this group declared alcohol a carcinogen, so this view has just been strengthened, not just newly created. Gynos help their patients develop overall health strategies and reproductive life plans, and this is certainly one area that will bear a lot of discussion over time.

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