Editorial in The Star Phoenix challenges Oster’s advice on alcohol to pregnant mums

oster book

I blogged last week about the controversy that Emily Oster’s new book is creating (Emily Oster’s new book “Expecting Better” challenged by FASD experts, September 4, 2013).

Oster suggests it is okay for pregnant women to drink up to two glasses of wine a week in the first trimester and up to a glass a day in the second and third trimesters.

This contrasts sharply with public health advice. Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines indicate “The safest option during pregnancy or when planning to become pregnant is to not drink alcohol at all. Alcohol in the mother’s blood stream can harm the developing fetus. While the risk from light consumption during pregnancy appears very low, there is no threshold of alcohol use in pregnancy that has been definitively proven to be safe.”

Oster’s book has been receiving widespread media coverage, including two weeks ago in the Star Phoenix: Economics prof debunks some of the age-old pregnancy advice (Italie, August 24, 2013).

The Star Phoenix has just published a response to this article by Bev Drew from the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute. Drew comments:

“Why gamble with a substance like alcohol that we know can cause permanent damage to baby’s brain and organs? Oster complains that expert advice is on the “cautious” side. Should we not be cautious with our developing babies?”

See the response here (September 6, 2013). Check out the response of the Canada FASD Research Network to Oster’s book here.