Lost Potential & Pregnancy Myths

By: Alexa McIndoe

The Internet can be a very useful tool or it can be full of confusion. “Sources” come from all over: medical studies, blogs, discussion boards, and every other social media outlet. And most recently a destructive book called Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong-and What You Really Need to Know by Emily Oster that is giving women false information about drinking during pregnancy.

Believe me, I am guilty of trying to diagnose myself via internet search and read up on my symptoms or I want to make sure my health care provider knows what they are talking about after a visit.

But relying on these sources, especially if we don’t know their credibility, can become very misleading during pregnancy. One of the most common questions women have while pregnant is “can I drink alcohol/how much alcohol can I drink while pregnant?”

We often search for the dos and don’ts when it comes to pregnancy. We can find out how many checkups we need, what type of vitamins you should be taking, the types of foods we should stay away from, exercises/stretches we should do, the type of music to play for the baby, etc.

Even after the child is born we can find all kinds of “recommendations”:  sanitize everything and make sure the baby is germ-free, buy the best car seat, learn and teach them baby sign language, feed them certain things, and many more.

The list doesn’t end when it comes to wanting what is best for your baby and making sure they are healthy and safe.

But we never get a clear answer on drinking alcohol while pregnant. This book now states that “light drinking” is okay during pregnancy and she encourages having a glass of wine a day. This is the worst information you could give a pregnant woman. Oster is not a medical doctor and the information she is putting out there is false. I am appalled that this book has spread like wild fire in the past week. Her point of view only focuses on the mother and how the mother feels during pregnancy. She claims wine calms nerves, helps back pain, but we don’t hear anything on how this affects the baby.

When looking up alcohol during pregnancy, you hear the myths that it won’t harm the baby, and that drinking early during the pregnancy is okay, or in the third trimester when the baby is already “developed” is okay. This is all very misleading.

The way I try to explain it is, the baby is developing every day, every single day it is inside the womb. And to have a drink, whether it is wine, liquor, or beer, you are playing roulette that day with the development of your baby. One week it could be developing the heart, another its eyes, limbs, palate, and the brain is developing every day. And on that particular day you decide to drink, you are ruining whatever part of the baby is developing on that specific day.

So my question is: why risk losing all this potential and drink alcohol during pregnancy?

You plan, you prepare, you read every book, have as many checkups, buy the best things, eat the best foods, go to all the baby expos, and you do all this to help make things perfect for you and your baby. You do all this because you love them and want the best for them.

If you drink while pregnant, all your planning, preparing, hard work, effort, and follow-through will have been tampered with. I’m not saying one way of parenting is better than another, I’m saying we need to help give these babies a leveled playing field when they are born. And that starts with abstaining from drinking alcohol while pregnant and calling out bad sources.

National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome has a great response to Oster’s book, CLICK HERE>>>

Share this page:

Training & Webinars

MOFAS is the statewide source for comprehensive, customized trainings on FASD for professionals.

Learn More

Family Support

We provide guidance and support for families living with an FASD.

Get Support


We host events, classes, support groups and more across Minnesota. There's something for everyone.

See Our Calendar
Toll-Free: 1-866-90-MOFAS (66327)  •  Primary Phone: 651-917-2370  •  2233 University Avenue West, Suite 395, St. Paul, Minnesota 55114
Copyright © 2018 Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome | Photos by Amy Zellmer, Custom Creations Photography.

This site is provided to families and professionals as an informative site on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). It is not intended to replace professional medical, psychological, behavioral, legal, nutritional or educational counsel. Reference to any specific agency does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by MOFAS.