alcohol during pregnancy - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 32 Old 09-02-2004, 10:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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what is your stance on consuming alcohol during pregnancy? let me clarify even more and just say - what is your stance on consuming small amounts of red wine during pregnancy? obviously doctors tell us "no alcohol", but i have heard so much contrary information and opinions from all sides, and am looking for a balanced, informed stance on the subject....

thanks in advance!
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#2 of 32 Old 09-02-2004, 10:32 AM
 
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I used to work for an office of OB's and we would tell our patients one cup a week was okay. THat's cup as in 8 ounces, not cup as in fill your glass to the tippy top. lol

I haven't researched this myself, though, so I'm interested in what others have to say.

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#3 of 32 Old 09-02-2004, 10:37 AM
 
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My view is we don't know how much is the safe limit, and what damage even small amounts can do to rapidly growing babies, so it's not worth the risk to me. Also, my dh has alcoholism in the family & there is no way I want to introduce that into my system while pregnant.

My 2 cents.
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#4 of 32 Old 09-02-2004, 10:43 AM
 
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I don’t know the current research ~ mine was from nearly 4 years ago and I wouldn’t call what I did a “stance” LOL! But, I avoided alcohol entirely for the first trimester and well into the second but I did drink an occasional beer or glass of wine after that. My midwife approved my intake.

I’m not sure exactly why you’re asking but if you’re craving a drink and decide you don’t want to take the risk, you might consider alcohol free beer or wine ~ it really did the trick for me ~ still does if I want to socially drink but don’t feel like the side effects.

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#5 of 32 Old 09-02-2004, 10:54 AM
 
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I basically abstain, to be on othe safe side. But, when the situation calls for it, I toast and have a sip of wine. Or, a taste of beer to satisfy my brain sometimes. (This amounts to about three or four swallows throughout my pregnancy.) I won't drink a full glass of wine, as I have been told is okay, since that makes me pretty buzzed, so I am believe it would go through my system the same way.

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#6 of 32 Old 09-02-2004, 10:55 AM
 
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I had an occasional glass of wine in my third trimester. My midwife practice's stand on it was "there is no safe limit so we recommend you abstain" but I kinda felt like there is this culture of being totally puritanical during pregnancy that I didn't really agree with or feel like was evidence-based. There were times, epsecially towards the end, when I was stressed out and not feeling good and a little wine really helped me relax. If I had alcoholism in my family maybe I would have felt differently, but I decided it was okay for me in moderate amounts.
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#7 of 32 Old 09-02-2004, 11:04 AM
 
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I agree the first trimester its much more serious. With my second, I had been in labor for over 24 hours, the midwife sent me home, told me to have a glass of wine and go to sleep. I drank an occasional- (about 1-2 week) glass of wine or beer in my third tri with my last two and felt ok about that.

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#8 of 32 Old 09-02-2004, 11:24 AM
 
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I wouldn't ever drink alcohol in the first trimester, and probably not in the beginning of the second trimester. When I was pg with dd, I wasn't legal, so it never became an issue. This time, I know right now I'm going to be in two different social environments during the last trimester where I might want a bit of a drink. I'll probably end up drinking at one and not the other, based solely on what the others around me would think.

Um, not that the people at one would think I was bad if I didn't drink, :LOL just that the people at the first would think I was horrible if I had so much as a sip. I personally don't think a small amount in the third trimester would hurt anything, but it's not worth arguing with people I consider friends. YMMV.

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#9 of 32 Old 09-02-2004, 12:02 PM
 
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Well with my first, I had several margeritas one night during the first trimester. Didn't know I was pregnant at the time. I didn't drink the rest of my pregnancy. Maybe the occasional sip when I was out with friends to taste something someone had ordered. But I didn't drink per sa.

With my second and this pregnancy I have had the occasional glass of wine with dinner. It has helped me relax when I've been really stressed out or when my muscles are screaming in total pain.

My OB recommends "moderation". The occasional should be fine its when someone continually abuses that there are problems. He said a lot of the time, the stance "none" is taken because of liability in our 'sue happy' culture and because some people don't seem to fully understand what the term moderation means.
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#10 of 32 Old 09-02-2004, 01:15 PM
 
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I agree with WakeupMama that our culture has too much of a puritanical view of pregnancy than is necessary. 30 or so years ago, people didn't even "know" alcohol was necessarily bad -- I know someone who has a daughter my age that said she "drank her way through pregnancy," meaing she had a glass of wine every night without a second thought or guilt.

I've even heard that in Europe the recommendation is no more than 2 drinks a day (!) for pregnant women (someone correct me if I'm wrong). I do know Europeans are a lot more laid back during pregnancy -- having wine and coffee in moderation without guilt or anxiety.

I truly believe moderation is the key. I think we get too freaked out in America about "things we can't do while pregnant." I'm someone who did "everything right" my first two pregnancies and they still ended in m/c. This time around I'm much more laid back, listening to my body, and giving it what it wants. I'm not going to let anyone lead me to believe that one glass of wine a week will hurt my baby. Such scare tatics make me mad. I had a piece of brie cheese last week and no one can tell that one piece of brie cheese will hurt my baby!

As you can see, I feel passionate about this. I don't have a drink every week, but if I wanted to I might. And I wouldn't feel guilty about it. I think guilt and anxiety probably do a lot more harm than an occasional glass of wine.

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#11 of 32 Old 09-02-2004, 02:19 PM
 
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I've actually read that alcohol is theoretically worse later in pregnancy, and while that makes no sense from a vital organ development stance, I know lots of healthy kids whose moms boozed it up in the first trimester before the knew they were pg.

I've indulged a few times, but never in more than a half a glass, and certainly never in something hard. I haven't had any at all since I was 16 weeks or so, but now I'm on narcotic pain pills, so I figure I'm exposing the babe to sufficient substances, why add something to the mix.

I think in France they actually believe a glass of wine a day is beneficial, or at least they used to. In our parents day, it was no big deal to have a martini and smoke a cigarette in the evening to relax, so who really knows! FAS is generally observed in women who consume 3 or more alcoholic beverages a day, that's a lot more than a cheerful toast at a celebration!

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#12 of 32 Old 09-02-2004, 02:30 PM
 
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i've had the occasional small glass or taste of wine throughout--i listen to my body and there have definitely been times (the entire first trimester, for instance) when the thought of wine or beer has been just repulsive. i regularly have a sip of dh's beer now, though, and it tastes REALLY good so i figure that can't be bad for either of us. i generally play it safe, though.

i agree that this country has a pretty extreme anti-alcohol culture--21st amendment, anyone? one midwife said to me, "in france pregnant women drink wine. in japan, they eat raw fish. are those babies compromised? no. in large part, the choices we make about pregnancy are cultural." i think that's true, and that common sense is as good a tool as any list of don'ts, in many cases.

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#13 of 32 Old 09-02-2004, 02:45 PM
 
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I abstain completely - I would love a glass of wine now and again but not enough that it would be worth the possible risk. I don't think I use to be as adament until after I had a miscarriage, now I don't take any chances.

I'm biased because I was married to an alchoholic for 5 years but I don't think this country is anti-alchohol at all - if anything I think our society is too focused on it.

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#14 of 32 Old 09-02-2004, 03:13 PM
 
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Call me puritanical, but as someone who worked with children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Effects I don't drink at all during pregnancy and very, very little while TTC. I don't think we know the most vulnerable times or safe amounts. I don't miss it (unlike caffiene) why chance it.
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#15 of 32 Old 09-02-2004, 03:18 PM
 
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I'd say that if either grandparents on either side are alcoholic then I would not chance it.
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#16 of 32 Old 09-02-2004, 03:19 PM
 
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and either of the parents too I forgot to say...
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#17 of 32 Old 09-02-2004, 03:32 PM
 
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Well my stance is I wouldn't, but then again it's really easy for me I'm not really a drinker and can pass up wine when I am not pregnant. I don't think that saying that because they did it in the past before they knew otherwise is a good idea either...they also prescribed Thalidamide, and we wouldn't use the argument that some fetus' were fine even though I am sure that every mom that took it didn't end up with a deformed baby!

Though I loved Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, I was appauled in Spiritual Midwifery when a mom was having preterm and was told to drink wine to stop contractions...then kept them at bay for 2 MONTHS by drinking wine everyday. Although I can see the merrit in having a glass of wine to stop contractions, I'd say that if one glass doesn't do the trick then find something else! There are many other relaxation techniques, such as a warm bath, maybe with aromotherapy...why the need for wine?

But that being said, I would eat a piece of Kaluha cheesecake (not if there was chocolate offered as well) And I'd eat it with a cup of coffee, which is something that many of you avoid...so basically, you got to choose your vices and of course keep in mind all things in moderation. I don't honestly feel that a bit of wine on one occasion would do any damage, but I just wouldn't be able to get past the guilt to enjoy it anyway so there would be no point for me.
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#18 of 32 Old 09-02-2004, 03:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MsMoMpls
I agree the first trimester its much more serious. With my second, I had been in labor for over 24 hours, the midwife sent me home, told me to have a glass of wine and go to sleep. I drank an occasional- (about 1-2 week) glass of wine or beer in my third tri with my last two and felt ok about that.
I got this advice too but was told I could have a couple glasses--this was in the third tri a couple days before I actually birthed--best red wine I have ever had, LOL

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#19 of 32 Old 09-02-2004, 08:41 PM
 
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When I was in my first tri I had absolutely no interest in alcohol. Now with both Dd and this one I actually crave it. Not in a binge kind of way, but in a half a beer at the end of the day, way. Never more then once or twice a week. I talked to my midwife she said it was no big deal. I listened to my own inner voice and decided to enjoy my occasional half a beer and not feel guilty.

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#20 of 32 Old 09-02-2004, 09:05 PM
 
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Good for you, Lilylove! I think that inner voice we all have is much more reliable than what any "expert" tells us we should or shouldn't do.

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#21 of 32 Old 09-03-2004, 12:48 AM
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The old midwife's (and doctor's remedy) for preterm/false labour was alcohol. It worked and they went with what worked. It had less side effects than drugs currently in use and was less dangerouns to the fetus too than having a baby born that early during those days. Its only been in the last 20 years that the "age of viability" has come down from 36 weeks to about 26 weeks or lower depending on the size of the baby. The Dionne Quints were small miracles for their day and age. So was my great-aunt who died last year at 98. She was a "shoe box" baby. In other words, she was born so premature that they kept her by the stove to keep her alive since there was no such thing as incubators then. And Great Grandma was a midwife.

So, like everything else in pregnancy, there are risks. If you're willing to accept them, then do it.

My midwife has told me to have a shot of whiskey (we're out of wine and I hate beer) if my contractions get too severe. If they die down afterwards, then I wasn't in true labour. So far she's been right twice.
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#22 of 32 Old 09-03-2004, 03:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mamid
So, like everything else in pregnancy, there are risks. If you're willing to accept them, then do it.
I agree. One thing that kinda bugs me is when people call *other people’s risks* unnecessary as if they aren’t taking unnecessary risks as well, yk? This is an on going “issue” of mine and I’m not responding to individuals on this thread ~ I see it with many parenting issues. The risk of auto travel has always been something I compared to other less les socially acceptable risks.

I don’t want to seem like I’m encouraging anyone to drink alcohol, caffeine or eat any of those (ridiculous ~ sorry, couldn’t help myself) foods on that long list of things we can’t do while pregnant but I would suggest that we be aware that all we take risks, probably every day. It’s up to each of us as individual parents to gauge our risks with open eyes

Edited to add: ridiculous *list* of food ~ not the food itself.

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#23 of 32 Old 09-03-2004, 04:09 AM
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I'm allergic to certain foods. If I cut those out of my diet when pregnant AND cut out the "don't even think of" foods, my pregnancy diet would be so bland that I'd only be eating lamb, rice, tofu, apples, bananas and milk. That's it.

Since most of the foods I tested "allergic" to at age 12 I have never reacted to, I include those. Others, I don't go near because I can't get in my mouth (green beans, yellow beans, etc, olives, anything that comes from the sea that either has a shell or should). But, I can eat salmon, tuna and seaweed. And I love sushi too. Do I stop eating sushi because of the "risk" of food poisoning or parasites? Nope. Either I go to reputable restaurants and have all the salmon sushi I want or we make it ourselves buying the salmon that day. Tuna, I'm not too fond of when pregnant because it just doesn't taste right, but salmon appeases that part of me that is native.

Alcohol and being native, even as diluted of a metis as I am, raises red flags for CPS. After all, once the europeans gave the natives a taste of alcohol, they went nuts for the firewater (don't get me started as to what is really in firewater! it ain't just alcohol!). So, even saying that I have a shot of whiskey even this late in my pregnancy could get me in trouble with my social worker. But the risk was going into labour too soon (back before 36 weeks) or being exhausted and unable to labour effectively and end up with a transfer and a section. Gee.. I think I'll take the shot of whiskey if it'll let me sleep and regain energy for birthing day. Seems a lot safer to me than the anesthesia that would be involved with a cesarean for the baby, nevermind my own personal risks.

And if my social worker calls me on it, I have midwifery textbooks here that state that a shot of whiskey or a glass of wine, or beer, is a fine way to see if the labour is "real." After all, if it is "real" and not just prelabour/false labour/warm up labour a shot of whiskey won't stop it.

So, to me, the risks are acceptable.

I just wish I could have gotten "drunk" over the last shot I took last week. I ended up with a horrid hangover and not getting "drunk" in the first place made the hangover worse.
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#24 of 32 Old 09-03-2004, 09:05 AM
 
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i was considering having small amounts in the 3rd tri, but now i'm working with a doula who requests that her clients be alcohol free. so since it isn't that important to me, i plan to continue to avoid it for these last 3 months.

i did have a fair amount to drink during the 2ww up to 11dpo, but no more than two drinks per day.. i somehow thought it wasn't going to happen that time, and it was st. patrick's day

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#25 of 32 Old 09-03-2004, 03:32 PM
 
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I abstained from everything in the first trimester - alcohol, caffeine, anything else that might be too fun or enjoyable. But the very smell of alcohol, coffee, or tea the first four months really turned my stomach.

Late in the second trimester I started having the occasional cup of coffee to perk me up (or get things moving IYKWIM), and I've had a glass of wine just three or four times.

I have to say that non-alcoholic beer does absolutely nothing for me, though. It tastes like I'm sucking on pennies. I'd rather go without.
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#26 of 32 Old 09-03-2004, 07:17 PM
 
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My parents are both (recovering) alcoholics, and so I abstain from alcohol completely anyway, whether or not I'm pregnant. But to me, even if this weren't the case, it just doesn't seem worth the risk. It's been proven that alcohol can be greatly damaging to a baby, and no safe amounts have been established. I don't know of any situation where alcohol is really necessary during pregnancy, and it just seems such a much better idea to play it safe.

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#27 of 32 Old 09-04-2004, 07:46 AM
 
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The fear mongering of pregnant women in the US is absurd, seen from a European perspective. Women are told to abstain completely because it's assumed they're not intelligent enough to practice self control and drink in moderation.

From the NHS guidelines to routine antenatal care, handed out to every pregnant woman in the UK:

"Excess alcohol can harm your unborn baby. If you do drink while you are pregnant, it is better to limit yourself to one standard unit of alcohol a day (roughly the equivalent of a small glass of wine, a half pint of beer, cider or lager, or a single measure of spirits)".
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#28 of 32 Old 09-07-2004, 10:12 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gottaknit

I have to say that non-alcoholic beer does absolutely nothing for me, though. It tastes like I'm sucking on pennies. I'd rather go without.

Me too and I enjoy a good beer, but nothing about non-alcholic beer resembles good beer. When I am pregnant I would much rather have juice or a virgin bloody mary than that icky stuff.

Also somebody commented about cheesecake. It is unlikely that a cooked food, like cheesecake or brats cooked in beer have any alcohol left. I eat those things once my food scientist friend pointed this fact out to me.
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#29 of 32 Old 09-07-2004, 04:38 PM
 
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Like IdentityCrisisMama and Muse, I also support each woman's choice regarding whether or not to imbibe during pregnancy, but I also agree that we all take risks regardless and that while it's true that no safe amount has been established, every test points to the likelihood being that quite a lot of alcohol has to be consumed to have negative effects on the baby. Moderation is just not our thing, as a society. It reminds me of when women talk about drinking wine while nursing and say "I wouldn't feed that to my newborn, so why would I drink it when I'm nursing?" which makes very little sense. I also wouldn't feed my newborn a poppyseed bagel with chive cream cheese, but I'd sure eat THAT while I'm nursing. I guess my point is that I'd don't care what people decide, but I'd just like to see people using LOGIC!
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#30 of 32 Old 09-07-2004, 06:41 PM
 
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City Girl,:LOL you are so right about that logic!

I'm definitely in the moderation camp on this one. I avoid alcohol in the first trimester for the most part. I have had a sip of my DH's beer once or twice - it tasted sooo good - and I'm going to celebrate my birthday on Thursday with by nursing a very small glass of wine. I'm about 12 weeks now. In the second half on my pregnancy, I'll have a glass of wine or beer when I really feel like it, which will probably be 2 or 3 times a month. I would never have more than one small drink though. Moderation!


It would be interesting to set up a poll on this topic.

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