Pregnant Woman with Wine“It’s just one drink. What’s the big deal?” The truth is, scientists really don’t know exactly how much alcohol is a “big deal” to an unborn baby. That’s why the experts agree that no alcohol during pregnancy is the safest approach, an important point to emphasize in April which is National Alcohol Awareness Month.

The risk of drinking too much during pregnancy is what’s known as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome which, with just two drinks per day, can cause a range of problems, from miscarriages and stillbirth to heart defects and poor fetal growth. In severe cases, lifelong problems can show up, such as learning and speech delays as well as issues with behavior and attention.

The most alcohol-sensitive time for a growing baby is in the first three months of pregnancy, when many women don’t even know they’re pregnant. For that reason, it’s recommended that women who are trying to get pregnant switch to healthy soft drinks, such as water, fruit juices and smoothies, so they aren’t unwittingly imbibing during that first trimester.

The National Institutes of Health states that pregnant women should not drink alcohol at all. Period. When we don’t know how it might affect our unborn baby, is that glass of wine or bottle of beer really worth the risk?