Some people say it's different in Europe -- specifically, that French women drink wine when they're pregnant and no one gives it a thought. But in fact, many European countries are coming around to the American point of view: that no amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy [source: Graff].
Alcohol is a drug, a depressant that slows the actions of the central nervous system. In the 1970s, American researchers coined the term fetal alcohol syndrome, or FAS, to describe the collection of birth defects that can result from prenatal alcohol consumption [source: Cooper]. FAS includes low birth weight, mental retardation, small stature and a spectrum of learning disabilities and emotional problems.
Is two drinks a week OK? One drink a day? The fact is, no one knows if there's an amount of alcohol that's perfectly safe and, if there is, what that amount is. The only truly safe approach is to save up the wine to toast the baby's birthday.
Up next: another favorite drink, another no-no.