Similarly, you cannot ethically do a double-blind study giving pregnant women varying amounts of acetaminophen or caffeine; however, the CDC has made no official recommendations suggesting women cease consuming coffee or taking Tylenol. (The Mayo Clinic says Tylenol is safe for occasional headaches and says two cups of a coffee a day is fine.)
A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health backs up her; researchers found no cognitive or behavioral differences between children born to women who abstained from alcohol and women who had 1-2 drinks per week during pregnancy.
So the CDC is being aggressively cautious in its recommendation. It's not inevitable that any alcohol consumption will cause birth defects. As for the "Why take the risk?" argument, Oster pointed out in a follow-up Slate article that every behavior has risks.
Furthermore, many women -- and men, for that matter -- have said the CDC's message has a condescending tone. Their umbrage is all over Twitter:
The infographic in particular seems to get carried away with its message. For instance, a list of the risks that "any woman" faces by "drinking too much" includes "sexually transmitted diseases" and "unintended pregnancy." These risks come into play after exposure to a member of the opposite sex, not a glass of wine.
Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter @jessica_roy.
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