The CDC Is Crazy For Saying Women Should Avoid Alcohol “Just In Case” We Get Pregnant

The CDC Is Crazy For Saying Women Should Avoid Alcohol “Just In Case” We Get Pregnant ©iStock/Kichigin

On Wednesday, the Center For Disease Control and Prevention released a report recommending all women of childbearing age who are not on birth control quit drinking alcohol — like, completely. Since about half of all pregnancies in the US are unplanned and most women don’t even realize they’re pregnant until the second month, according to the CDC, “The risk is real. Why take the chance?” Sounds good in theory maybe, but in practice, it’s utter BS.

  1. There’s no evidence that the (very) occasional drink is harmful to a fetus. While it’s probably smart to cut out your weekly binge-drinking sessions if you’re trying to get pregnant (or if you’re no longer 21), there’s no reason why you can’t have a drink every once in a while even while pregnant. How often and how much you drink can vary from person to person, but plenty of women have an occasional glass of wine, and their baby turns out fine.
  2. Plenty of women don’t want (and will never have) kids. Should every women adjust her lifestyle for the mere possibility that a child could happen? Frankly, being able to drink freely is one of the most compelling reasons in favor of remaining childfree.
  3. Hormonal birth control isn’t always an option. There are plenty of directions you can go for birth control these days, Some people don’t react well to the hormonal kinds, so they stick to condoms. Which, as Ross and Rachel know, aren’t always effective. Does that mean you should give up your beloved Sunday morning mimosas? That sounds like a cruel joke.
  4. Everything women do isn’t in anticipation of eventually getting pregnant. When you’re in your early twenties, you’re not taking folic acid, turning down tequila shots, and avoiding cigarette smoke at all costs. Ten years down the road when you decide to start trying for a baby, you might start doing those things, but right now, as Kim Kardashian would say, “CAN WE LIVE?!”
  5. We deserve a drink sometimes. When work is stressful. When we’ve just been dumped out of the blue. When a family function is only tolerable after a glass of wine or two. It doesn’t matter why we drink, it just matters that we deserve to indulge if we want to. It’s not like we’re out there getting wasted every night, future fetuses be damned. We just want to kick back and relax once in awhile, is that so much to ask?
  6. Plenty of unplanned babies turn out just fine. Ask most mothers you know and they’ll tell you they didn’t stop drinking completely until they found out they were pregnant. And their kids are perfectly healthy. Kind of makes the CDC’s advice seems more like fear mongering than a realistic solution.
  7. It may be “good advice, but it’s unrealistic. Being alive isn’t as easy as following all the rules you’re supposed to in order to optimize health. We all do the best we can with all the health advice out there, but we’re still human. We indulge, we slip up, and you know what? Who cares? No one is perfect 24/7.
  8. There are bigger issues than fertile woman drinking alcohol. For example, what about women who don’t necessarily have the resources to consistently stay on birth control? What about the ongoing battle for abortion rights? Address these things and maybe the number of unplanned pregnancies, and unwanted and/or unhealthy babies would go way down.
  9. Dating would become a serious problem. Going on blind dates is bad enough when you have the option of having a drink or two to take the edge off. But you’re on a date and that’s a warning sign for pregnancy. So better stay sober because you just never know.
  10. Our dystopian future could include having to choose between having sex and getting drunk. The CDC stopped just short of suggesting that women who aren’t on birth control and are “at risk” of getting knocked up should have to choose between getting a little tipsy and having sex. Maybe they’ll install breathalyzers on all guy’s hard-ons and if you blow over (no pun intended), you just won’t be allowed to have sex. Booze does have a way of leading to unsafe sex, after all. They’re just looking out for us.
  11. It’s completely sexist. If you were being cynical (and it’s hard not to be), you could see the CDC’s suggestions as a warning that you might be taken advantage of by a man if you go out drinking, as if you would be “asking for it” by going out and letting off steam with a bit of alcohol. Instead, why don’t they direct their statement towards men who would take advantage of an obviously drunk woman rather than putting the onus on us, yet again?
By day, Courtney is a digital marketing copywriter living in Toronto, Canada. By night, she's a freelance lifestyle writer who, in addition to, contributes regularly to, IN Magazine, and SheBlogs Canada. Want to chat about relationships, Stephen King or your favorite true crime podcast/documentary/book? She's on Twitter @courtooo.