I am not much of a drinker, pregnant or not, so the alcohol limitation/restriction is nothing that affects me. However, I would like to think some wine here and there is not a problem - look at all the pregnant women in Europe who drink wine! Or all the pregnant women in Japan who still eat sushi. I feel like a lot of our limitations and restrictions stem from culture. But I am no reproductive scientist ...
There is no known amount of alcohol that has been found to be safe during pregnancy, mostly because it isn't something that can safely/ethically be studied using double blind methods (not sure if that would even work with alcohol, as the drinking group would obviously be on to it once they felt the buzz...) From the research that has been done, mostly surveys of pregnant women who choose to consume various amounts of alcohol throughout their pregnancies, no ill effects have been found from moderate consumption. Some sources say that even a drink a night, 7 days a week, is ok. I also think I recall reading somewhere that occasional consumption of 2 drinks in one day is also ok, though I would have to double check that.
Personally, a drink a night feels like too much to me (and who needs those extra empty calories every night?) But today I ran 7 miles and I have decided to make thin-crust homemade pizza tonight as a reward (loaded with spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, and maybe artichoke hearts, with turkey pepperoni. Yummmmm) and vons has a great deal on one of my favorite six-packs for 5bux, So I'm gonna wash my pizza down with a beer.
I also feel like having the occasional glass of wine is OK. I don't do it very often but have probably have an ounce or 2 ounces of wine on 3 different occasions now. Some great people I know (they have a grown son who is my age) tell me stories all the time about her having a glass of wine almost every day during pregnancy, but she was pregnant living abroad because of the military and it was very common and customary in all those places. They even ask me when I see them (about once a week) if I've had a glass of wine lately :)
This is one of many areas that is going to fall within a different comfort level for each person. I think the uncertainty with the alcohol comes in because (from what I have heard and not researched) sometimes small amounts of alcohol can cause problems while people drinking large amounts have none. I think it's more the *timing* of the alcohol more than the amount (although, obviously the amount will have some impact) is where the damage can be done, and we don't know enough about that timing to make a "safe" recommendation of alcohol while pregnant. Most times a drink here and there will be fine, and looking at how rarely listeria is a problem in food will allow some women to indulge in lunch meats unpasteurized cheeses without a second thought (and some practitioners even say not to worry about it). Really though I think people need to look at the reasons why it's recommended to avoid certain things and come up with their own comfort level about it. I think that stress is way more dangerous than a glass of wine/beer or having cheese or deli meats once in a while - so if the choice is stressing you out avoid it, if abstaining is stressing you out, know that the risks of harm are relatively low, so best not to stress about it.
Personally I have had a few sips of DH's wine or beer here and there, but not much more than that. I just put in an order for raw milk (which I will probably do a gentle stove top pasteurization of - just to be safe), but generally have issues with dairy so I don't eat much of it in general, and I don't eat a ton of deli meats anyway, but I have indulged in a couple of sandwiches/antipasto salads. After the first trimester I went back to my one regular mug of coffee per day. With my first I was a lot more careful, I avoided all deli, raw cheeses (not that there are that many around here anyway), coffee (until the second half of the third trimester where I did a half/half cup of decaf and regular), and I had one glass of wine at a friend's wedding that I nursed throughout the entire evening (and it was friggin ah-mazing!).
There are lot of different answers for this type of question, and in fact if you do a search on Mothering you will get a ton of really interesting information. :)
There is an older threat about this in the June due date group (I started it because I was seeking advice about the same thing). I had a few 2 or 3 oz glasses earlier in my pregnancy, but I haven't had any since Christmas. My tastes have changed and it just doesn't taste as good to me. I have read numerous studies stating that small amounts is safe, so it really is a personal choice.
Kitteh had it right that there simply aren't any solid studies, at least here in the US, due to the inability to do double-blind, so any studies you see are going to be ones that merely show correlation (two factors that happen to occur together more often) rather than actually establishing causation (a fair amount of certainty that one factor has actually caused another). Hence, in the US, no one will assure you that infrequent drinks are all right because they can't be sure, and they don't want to be sued.
From personal experience, I'd say go ahead. I had the occasional beer or bit of wine with DS1 and he's just fine so far (age 3, developing perfectly normally mentally, physically, and emotionally). I would still be having the occasional beer or cider now, except blinking everything gives me heartburn right now, and even taking a single tasting sip of DH's beer is causing me problems. *sighs* So I'm simply avoiding drinking any alcohol at all, as that help to keep the acid problems down.
Thank you, everyone, for your input. Just to be clear though, as I get an impression from some of your responses, I am not asking because I'm a heavy drinker and want reassurance that I'm good to pound em back. I've never been a heavy drinker but liked a beer after a long day or a glass of wine with a nice meal. I have not had anything alcoholic during my entire pregnancy (I'm at 22 weeks now) and have, until the last couple of weeks steered clear of any caffinated beverages other than one cup of green tea a day. I eat healthy and don't eat meat other than fish which we have about once a week. So, to cut to the chase, I started this thread because I've heard several perspectives and wanted to hear what you folks had to say on the issue. Less looking for advice and more what you're beliefs are on the subject. I do appreciate all the information you've provided and will probably still stay with my fast of the stuff regardless.
i have found that a glass of wine helps heaps more than the class x tocolytics i was taking! not directly related to your question but another take on the subject. i keep it under i glass every other day or so and only when my contractions are bad. i read a lot of studies and they actually did release a study in america! i wish i had the link. but they haven't seen any negative effects on children with mothers who drank i think less than 6 drinks a week. which is A LOT! they showed POSITIVE effects on mothers that admitted to drink during their pregnancy...the mothers who said no, never, had more negative effects in regards to their babies development but they said that was probably due to the relaxed nature of the mother and not the fact that they drank. if that makes sense :) i just wanted to add my experience. i would much rather have a glass every now and then that has pretty much been proven tobe just fine than to take massive amounts of heart medications that make me feel like shit! and can be really really bad for my little one.
Everything in moderation, and in pregnancy probably a lot of moderation on certain things. My sister, who is a nurse, gave me a mimosa on Christmas morning when I was just entering second trimester. Her thoughts are that as long as I am not feeling tipsy or drunk, then the baby isn't feeling it either. I don't think a drink here and there is going to hurt anyone. There are tons of women in Europe who drink a glass of wine daily and I don't think it's been shown that they have any lasting effects on the babies. There aren't a lot of studies showing the effects of many things during pregnancy (not even over the counter pain medicine like ibuprofen) because who is going to willingly test their unborn children? But there have been a few studies that look at women as they progress through pregnancy and childbearing who are doing these sorts of things on their own (no test group, I guess).
I just found this link, but not the actual study: http://healthland.time.com/2012/06/20/alcohol-in-pregnancy-light-to-moderate-drinking-is-safe-study-says/
I also read about a study done over about 30 years by a doctor in Jamaica. The women studied were in two groups, non marijuana smokers and frequent marijuana smokers. The woman conducting the study wanted to know if smoking marijuana actually led to low birth weight (as has been stated elsewhere in medical literature). The study showed that pot smoking moms had no difference in birth weight, but actually had easier births and easier time transitioning to motherhood. There were some other things that their babies had that was seen as "better" than the babies of non smoking mothers, such as better transitions between waking-sleeping-waking, better facial recognition, and easier time eating (surprise, surprise! ).
There is a lot of stigma in the United States about what pregnant women should and should not be doing. I would really love to read the food guidelines in other countries! I also don't trust much of what our FDA has to say, about anything! So their guidelines are something I take with a grain of salt. Trust yourself, trust your body, trust your baby. You will know if something isn't right!