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Why Can’t Doctors Agree On Whether Or Not Pregnant Women Can Drink?

There’s really no end to the things guys marvel at when their partner goes through a pregnancy: climbing stairs with a semi-permanent frontpack of little person that gets heavier every week; sleeping in exactly 2 positions all night, every night, and giving up all that delicious booze they used to enjoy with a nice meal.

Not that every woman completely abstains from the occasional glass of wine while pregnant — hey, they do it in France, right? The American Academy Of Pediatrics recently felt compelled to reiterate its position on drinking while pregnant in the journal Pediatrics: No amount of alcohol should be considered safe during any trimester of pregnancy. Dr. Janet F. Williams, one of the report’s lead authors, said her group wanted to remind people of their advice as a response to a recent rise in opposing studies that claim consuming low levels of alcohol during pregnancy might be safe. “The research suggests that the smartest choice for women who are pregnant is to just abstain from alcohol completely,” said Dr. Williams.

Over on Slate, Nora Caplan-Bricker points out that the difference between the AAP’s position and the contradicting position (put forward, most compellingly, by the Danes) is how doctors and researchers interpret what they don’t know. For the AAP, if it can’t be proven to be safe to consume small amounts of alcohol, then don’t consume any. For the Danes (and the Brits), if it can’t be proven that small amounts of alcohol do any harm, then have a drink every now and then. So … thanks for guidance, Doc.

At least everyone can agree on whether or not expecting fathers should have a drink from time to time: Of course they should, so long as doing so doesn’t piss off the wife. And so long as, when she says she “totally doesn’t mind,” her eyes don’t say exactly the opposite.