Drinking while pregnant rant (long) — The Bump
January 2016 Moms

Drinking while pregnant rant (long)

A recent blurb came up on my facebook page about the fact that about 10% of American women admit to consuming alcohol while they are pregnant.  This is only the thousandth time I’ve heard about how awful it is for women to drink while pregnant, and I can’t bite my tongue any more.

I want American’s to realize that this is a cultural rule, not a scientific one.  The US has decided, not based on any evidence, that pregnant women are not allowed to drink ever, or they are killing their babies and should feel horrible about themselves.  In many other countries (most of Europe and Australia to name a few), national guidelines are based on actual scientific data and recommend pregnant women not exceed 1 drink a day, 7 drinks a week.

There is compelling, well conducted, long term research that shows moderate alcohol consumption in pregnant women is not just safe, is actually of benefit to babies.  Babies born to mothers who drank moderately through pregnancy actually show higher IQ’s and lower rates of aggression throughout childhood.  Population-wide studies in European countries, where drinking during pregnancy is commonplace, show absolutely no increase risk of harm with moderate alcohol consumption versus the US with its absolute ban.

I would never claim that binge drinking is a healthy choice during pregnancy, or that a woman should be forced to consume alcohol if it is not something that she is comfortable with, or that fetal alcohol syndrome is not a real condition and is not devastating when it happens.  There is a known level of alcohol consumption that is dangerous, but this doesn’t mean an across the board ban is the best course of action.  As I see it there are 3 main problems with the US’s obsession with women not drinking at all during pregnancy.

1. It makes women who do have a glass of wine feel so bad about it they think they might as well go ahead and finish the bottle.  When you stress how horrible having a sip of wine is, the person doing the sipping already thinks they have committed a heinous crime, and has no incentive to stop drinking at that point, they think the damage is already done.

2. We are denying our children the potential benefits of moderate drinking.  If you told me taking a prenatal vitamin had the potential to raise my child’s IQ and make them better behaved, you’d better believe I would be taking it (oh wait, I already am taking prenatal vitamins because you told me that).

3. It contributes to the societal view that pregnant women (or women in general) are too stupid to know what’s good for them.  The whole reason this ‘ban’ exists is because the powers that be in the US think that pregnant women either don’t know what  1 drink a day is, or won’t be able to help ourselves from drinking more than that once we open the floodgates.  We might just get confused in our lady brains and accidentally chug a handle of vodka instead of having a glass of wine with dinner a few times a week.

So quit telling me how horrified you are that 10% of women in the US are doing something good for their babies.  Now I’m off to take a bubble bath with a glass of red wine, and I expect praise for all the hard work I’m doing to raise my child’s IQ.

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Re: Drinking while pregnant rant (long)

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  • My best friend was stationed in Germany for her last pregnancy and her doctor actually encouraged a glass a day if it sounded good to her. It's no doubt a cultural choice. If a woman cannot control her drinking due to whatever reason she is better off abstaining. But the average woman knows when to stop. I've had an aversion to even the smell of alcohol with this baby so that's why I haven't enjoyed my merlot from time to time. Good info!
    enkb
  • edited September 2015
    Geez this is one of the first parent decision every woman gets to make and if it helps her to feel calm and occasional drink is acceptable (the harm from stress on the fetus can be far worse). I have been feeling stressed and suffer from anxiety/depression. All I'm going to say is I chose to abstain for the first 12 weeks and after that I mostly will have a sip of wine (literally) & have had the odd small glass too - oh yes and im naughty because I wanted more BUT I didn't as I put my baby first. But these are my choices and yours are yours - I do not get on my high horse and judge - I don't know you or your daily struggles and you don't know mine.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is OP was just saying yay to alcohol in pregnancy if you choose to have some and yay for you if you choose not to. Let's stop the stigma and let women choose - stop the judging now people. It's not nice and it's not necessary. We are all parents (yes already you are) and let's stick together rather than the divide and bitch approach.

    How is it you Americans say
    "Have a nice day"
    Xxx
    dc072175DrillSergeantCat
  • There is fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol effects. There is no exact safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy. Having said that, it is a personal choice and I'm not into nailing people to the cross.

    ChaneyB24kristib1027
  • I still have the occasional beer once a month or so. Good for you if you choose not to drink I don't judge you for not drinking. At the end of the day it's my body and my baby and what I choose to do has no effect on anyone else but me. I don't really care nor want to hear people's opinions.
    Knottie1452445632PedsIsHardcore
  • There is nothing to prove it has any effect on the baby. People do much worse things while pregnant.
    Knottie1452445632
  • star877 said:
    I must say I'm shocked at the relaxed attitude from some people towards drinking on this board. We do not know for certain that drinking moderately in pregnancy is harmless and UK advice is not to drink at all because (as the National Health Service here in UK state): "Experts are still unsure exactly how much, if any, alcohol is completely safe for you to have while you're pregnant, so the safest approach is not to drink at all while you're expecting." It's 9 months in our relatively long lives, stop being selfish and avoid inflicting any potential harm to unborn.

    Not quite correct:

    NICE’s actual wording is as follows:

    • Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy should be advised to avoid drinking alcohol in the first three months of pregnancy if possible because it may be associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.
    • If women choose to drink alcohol during pregnancy they should be advised to drink no more than one to two UK units once or twice a week (one unit equals half a pint of ordinary strength lager or beer, or one shot [25 ml] of spirits. One small [125 ml] glass of wine is equal to 1.5 UK units). Although there is uncertainty regarding a safe level of alcohol consumption in pregnancy, at this low level there is no evidence of harm to the unborn baby.
    • Women should be informed that getting drunk or binge drinking during pregnancy (defined as more than five standard drinks or 7.5 UK units on a single occasion) may be harmful to the unborn baby.

    Also the RCOG https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/patient-information-leaflets/pregnancy/pi-alcohol-and-pregnancy.pdf


    Knottie1452445632essentialpeace
  • TacoSarah said:


    star877 said:

    I must say I'm shocked at the relaxed attitude from some people towards drinking on this board. We do not know for certain that drinking moderately in pregnancy is harmless and UK advice is not to drink at all because (as the National Health Service here in UK state):

    "Experts are still unsure exactly how much, if any, alcohol is completely safe for you to have while you're pregnant, so the safest approach is not to drink at all while you're expecting."

    It's 9 months in our relatively long lives, stop being selfish and avoid inflicting any potential harm to unborn.



    Not quite correct:

    NICE’s actual wording is as follows:

    • Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy should be advised to avoid drinking alcohol in the first three months of pregnancy if possible because it may be associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.
    • If women choose to drink alcohol during pregnancy they should be advised to drink no more than one to two UK units once or twice a week (one unit equals half a pint of ordinary strength lager or beer, or one shot [25 ml] of spirits. One small [125 ml] glass of wine is equal to 1.5 UK units). Although there is uncertainty regarding a safe level of alcohol consumption in pregnancy, at this low level there is no evidence of harm to the unborn baby.
    • Women should be informed that getting drunk or binge drinking during pregnancy (defined as more than five standard drinks or 7.5 UK units on a single occasion) may be harmful to the unborn baby.

    Also the RCOG https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/patient-information-leaflets/pregnancy/pi-alcohol-and-pregnancy.pdf

    I wasn't quoting NICE I was quoting NHS
  • Everyone needs to calm down. It's a personal choice on the part of the woman as to what she decides to do. We don't have to like it, or agree with it, but she is free to make that choice. 
    I leave you with my favorite phrase:
    You do you, man.
    image image
    Knottie1452445632nickicb7DaphneMoon1SummerOH
  • Personally I don't care if you have a drink or two while pregnant. I think it would make me vomit. I didn't really drink before, why start now?

    What I do understand is- working in health care- do you guys realize how many uneducated, ignorant women (and men!) are out there? I've been in a women's clinic with a young woman who really did not know how she got pregnant, had STDs and multiple partners. Honestly she did not know! That's hard to believe, but it was the reality.
    At work I have to write letters to adults using 6th grade language. (So hard!)
    Guidelines and rules are made for everyone, and when part of your population cannot understand and follow correctly, the safest guideline to give is- don't do it at all.

    Two years, two losses and three IUIs...

    We are having TRIPLETS!

    EDD 1/26/16

     GGB born November 2015!


    ChrissyD1203Leah6120KFrob
  • I would LOVE to have a glass of merlot, but my husband gets anxious about any alcohol consumption. I prefer to abstain than worry him. My mother was told to have a glass of wine every night to help her sleep! I eat blue cheese and cold lunchmeat, though!


    Theliops
  • The other thing that I always think if with pregnancy and alcohol too is people have such varying tolerance levels so where as one mom/ baby might be able to handle one drink a day just fine- another pair may not. The occasional drink is likely fine- I've had one or two small glasses during my entire pregnancies with my kids. I know I have a low tolerance so I choose to be very conservative on that front but if other women are more comfortable with it then I don't judge (unless they are getting drunk) to the OP though I think you went a little far assuming that women who are told not to drink would have a glass that turns into a bottle as well as the drinking actually being good for baby??!? The only alcoholic beverage I think might have beneficial properties is red wine and even then- it isn't the alcohol itself, but rather a probiotic in the wine- which you can buy separately
  • @Scullahoo I can only hope to love my daughter with half the depth of your love for Starburst haha. While it may not make their IQ higher in feel it's worth the experimentation to see if it makes them astronomically happier.
    [Deleted User]
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