A leading authority puts the debate to rest: No alcohol during pregnancy is safe.

To avoid fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, the AAP advises pregnant women against drinking anything at all.

Good news/bad news for women who enjoy a glass of wine now and then and are planning to get pregnant.

Cheers! Or not. Photo by Megan Eaves/Flickr.


First, the good news: After years of conflicting advice, we finally have some clear guidelines on whether it's safe to consume any alcohol during pregnancy.

The bad news? You might want to re-cork that bottle and un-shake that martini because a new clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that even an occasional drink is no good.

Sigh.

But hey, let's focus on the bright side. Those clear guidelines are super useful for expectant mothers and soon-to-be expectant mothers. The fact is, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are totally preventable, and this report is finally giving us the clear info we need.

First, a quick definition: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are a group of of conditions that can result from alcohol exposure during pregnancy.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the effects of FASD can include behavior and physical problems, such as trouble with the following:

- Learning and remembering
- Understanding and following directions
- Controlling emotions
- Communicating and socializing
- Daily life skills, such as feeding and bathing



For years, research, experts, and doctors couldn't definitively agree on whether any amount of alcohol could cause FASD.

Cheers? Maybe not... Photo via iStock.

In fact, just one year ago, a large-scale study concluded that "moderate" drinking during pregnancy was OK. Today Parents reported on the study, which actually found that "expectant mothers who drink moderately have children with better mental health than children of mothers who abstain."

But then, as it usually goes when the conversation turns to drinking during pregnancy, we got a conflicting opinion — from none other than the co-author of the very study that came to that conclusion.

"I really think we should recommend abstaining [from drinking] during pregnancy," said study co-author Janni Niclasen, who was a post-doctoral student at the University of Copenhagen. "I really believe that even a glass of wine now and again is really damaging."

You can see why we'd all be a little confused ... until this week, when the AAP drew a clear, hard line in the sand.

Photo by J.K. Califf/Flickr.

No ambiguity here. They named "prenatal exposure to alcohol as the leading preventable cause of birth defects and intellectual and neurodevelopmental disabilities in children."

The clinical report was published in the November issue of Pediatrics, and the abstract contained clear-cut information:

"During pregnancy:
- no amount of alcohol intake should be considered safe;
- there is no safe trimester to drink alcohol;
- all forms of alcohol, such as beer, wine, and liquor, pose similar risk; and
- binge drinking poses dose-related risk to the developing fetus."



The AAP also shared the increased odds of having a baby with FASD:

  • Compared with consuming no alcohol, drinking during first trimester increased the odds by 12 times.
  • Drinking during the first and second trimester increased the odds by 61 times.
  • Drinking during all three trimesters increased the odds by 65 times.

The conclusion from Dr. Janet F. Williams, a lead researcher? "The research suggests that the smartest choice for women who are pregnant is to just abstain from alcohol completely."

Good to know. But, look: Parenting is fraught with judgment from everyone, pretty much from the moment a woman announces she's expecting.

Which is why this new information shouldn't be used to judge moms for past choices. It's there to help expecting mothers make the best decisions possible for themselves and their babies.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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