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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bring this up not to start a controversial discussion (because I know there are strong feelings around this topic) but because I'm genuinely curious about what other mamas-to-be think and because this is a query I get all the time from women who are trying to conceive or who want to eventually have children.
Do you drink (any amount at all) while pregnant?
I'll say right off the bat that I do. Not on a regular basis and never more than one drink at a time (usually not even that much) and I don't drink during the first trimester (as much out of distaste for it as anything else). I delivered my first overseas and the reigning guidance there (in a Middle Eastern country no less) was that 2 glasses of wine per week was fine, if the mom wanted it. I haven't asked my doctor here but I am curious about the practices of other mothers. Anecdotally almost every single pregnant woman or mother I've spoken to about it admits to drinking some amount while pregnant. For myself, I cooked a pasta dinner on Friday night, lit a candle and most definitely had a small glass of red wine with DH.
What does everyone else do?
 

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My husband is more of a wine person, and I'm more of a craft beer person. With my first I had the occasional half a beer, but not very often, and never out in public. Once I was breastfeeding though, I usually had a beer about once or twice a week. It was great too, because all the ladies from my Bradley class were all about having a beer too, so we'd all get together and do lunch or a potluck and it was a very judgement free zone. I was so nervous the first time I had a beer in public while breastfeeding. But I just fed her, then immediately had a beer, so by the time it was time for her next feeding, there was nothing to worry about. This pregnancy I've just not wanted a beer, but I remember craving one in my first pregnancy, and spicy food.
 

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I drink a little. After looking at studies and what the guidelines/norms are for other countries, I decided some wine here and there was ok. I don't like beer, but would do the same with it if I did. I have maybe 2 glasses of wine per week, and like you, didn't in the first trimester because nothing was appetizing. Though I enjoy rum, I don't touch it while pregnant because it's so much more potent.

American guidelines say no amount is safe, IMO because they don't know if there is a safe amount. You can't do a controlled study and subject some fetuses to large amounts of alcohol. If you do some reading, you realize that women in other countries don't give up the same things we do and they still have healthy children. Japanese women don't give up sushi, French women don't give up wine, etc. (I'm sure some do, but generally speaking.) And there are some studies demonstrating that there is a suspected safe level (basically a couple drinks per week shows exactly zero effect on newborns or their development/IQ years down the line.)
I also think that women of our grandparents generation drank while pregnant and basically everyone turned out ok. I know for a fact that my dad's mother drank normally with her children (not heavily, but also not less than usual) since they didn't have the knowledge they do now. It was normal to do so in her circles, and they generally had healthy babies. I feel like it's a very personal choice now, and if a woman looks at the facts and decides she's ok with small amounts, that should be ok with everyone else. I wish I was brave enough to demonstrate this in public, but I'm not. I won't order wine at a restaurant or buy it - I make DH do that errand :wink: Some people get really weird about it, and I'm careful who I have my glass of wine with.
I applied the same reasoning and approach while breast feeding, though for a special occasion I would have a few in one night and give DD stored pumped milk and then pump and dump until the next morning. But that was unusual. I was too tired to want to get tipsy! I basically just did the same couple drink a week thing, and made sure it wasn't like 10 minutes before she would want to nurse .
 

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I haven't been drinking at all to speak of. I did have a 4oz glass of beer from the homebrew the hubs made. I felt conflicted about it a little but I think the important thing is to know your body. You know if you're someone who can metabolize alcohol etc. I don't think I would have a whole glass of anything but the little mini glass worked well. I was smelling it and just had to have it. A few months ago the smell would've made me nauseous!!!


I'm totally back on coffee now too..... no more than a cup a day and not every day.


I think if you're reasonable its fine!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Interesting to hear everyone's take! I agree about researching -- we're so lucky now with the internet and the wealth of medical studies available to us. I'm really into being informed, questioning, and not just blindly following rules for the sake of following them. I do, for example, still drink coffee in moderation and eat soft cheese and sushi (from reputable places and not like every week, but I definitely do and I don't think twice about it). One of my friends said it best I think when she said if it makes you less anxious and more relaxed to do these things, then do them. But if you're the type of person who would get anxious and worry about it, then don't do it! Continuing on with normal life, to the extent possible, makes me feel more like myself and less like an alien incubator, which to me has a relaxing, calming effect and makes me feel less isolated and more connected. I trust my own instinct and my body's physical reaction more than anything. Somehow, I intuitively know my own limits!
 

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I don't drink any wine ti the end of the third trimester. And even then, it isn't much. Last couple of weeks as the pain on my hip and back gets its worse, I'll have half a glass mixed with raspberry or cranberry ginger ale.
 

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I will occasionally have a tiny bit, less than a glass. I am a lightweight when it comes to drinking, so I don't want to push it. This pregnancy, I have had a small (like shotglass sized) glass of wine at a Shabbat dinner and about 1/4 of my husband's beer the other day. That's it so far :)
 

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I drank a very small amount here and there with my first pregnancy. I'm finding that I just haven't been craving it this time. A few times I've had a sip of hubby's beer but that's it. I don't worry about it much. If I want to try something even out in public I will. I have a cousin with fetal alcohol syndrome so I'm very aware of what happens when you're an alcoholic and pregnant but I really believe that you have to be drinking a lot in order to have trouble. A glass of wine or beer probably even everyday wouldn't be a problem for most women. But I'm a light weight myself so I like to be careful because it doesn't take much for me to get tipsy. I'll probably drink a bit more around the holidays.

Oh, I'm just now remembering that I did totally forget I was pregnant (that's how tired I was) very early on with this one after a festival for work and I had a large glass of wine with my co-workers. Hopefully I didn't kill off too many brain cells with that one! I think drinking earlier is probably worse than later.
 

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I want a glass of wine so bad!, but I'm the one that would feel more anxious and guilty by having it. I already have guilt about my diet. :/ Maybe while I'm in labor to help me relax!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
@itybitywity -- that's actually really funny re: forgetting your pregnant. I never experienced that phenomenon the first time around because it was my first and I was preoccupied with being prego like 24/7 but with this one I'll find entire stretches of the day go by where I forget. It's a bit harder now that he's more active and kicking though.


Yeah, I read a study that said the fetus is most vulnerable to toxins like alcohol in weeks 7-12 so I make sure to avoid anything around that time which isn't difficult since that period also corresponds with the height of morning sickness for most mamas. Nature has some pretty cool built-in defense mechanisms for mothers-to-be! My mom has a couple of cousins with FASD but their mother (sadly) drank straight vodka (like several drinks a day) throughout the pregnancies. She was an alcoholic and this would have been in the 50s and 60s before I think they really understood how serious the ramifications of that could be. Interestingly, though, she had like 6 or 7 kids and although her drinking habits were largely unchanged throughout all her pregnancies, I believe only two of kids have full-blown FASD. Now who knows in what ways the others were affected, though... Grateful we live in a time of increased knowledge and understanding about all of this!
 

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I did feel pretty awful about that glass of wine so early in! The worst part was that my husband was right there with me and he just let me drink it! He managed to tactfully get me to share a glass with him, "Don't you want to just share one...?" We hadn't told coworkers yet at that point. But then I drank the whole glass practically on my own. When we were driving home and I suddenly remembered (this is an all day festival that takes a month to set up so it's pretty intense) I was like, why didn't you stop me!? And he said that he figured I knew what I was doing. He had a bit more faith in me than was justified! I know a bunch of ladies who haven't been as on top of it with their cycles and who drank before realizing they were pregnant and yet all of their babies/kids turned out fine so hopefully the prolonged exposure is the real problem. It is so amazing that someone can do the same thing and only have problems with some children. Every kid is so different with what effects them more and less.
 

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@itybitywity I know you and your bebe will be absolutely fine, despite this monstrously huge glass of wine you've had! :) I have read A LOT of stuff on alcohol and FASD and nothing I've found attributes intermittent, limited amounts of alcohol to FASD or any other problems, but nevertheless, it is difficult to silence a lingering concern that has now been drummed into us by society. Whenever you're feeling anxious about it (or even if you aren't but want a dose of reasonableness on an internet crawling with hysteria) I suggest checking out articles by Emily Oster. She's an economist (and mother) and wrote "Expecting Better." She'll basically do a comprehensive lit review of the studies on a particular topic (like drinking coffee while pregnant) and then summarize for you. Kind of refreshing!

I had a few 1/2 glasses of wine between weeks 8 and 9 because we were out of town for a couple of weddings. I would actually pour myself an entire glass but could only stomach 1/2 a glass! I think it was mostly out of habit because I'm normally a fairly regular imbiber. But then I just stopped wanting it altogether and now it's easy to forego.

The other day though, geez, in the middle of the work afternoon, the notion of a manhattan just popped into my head! I don't even know what's in a manhattan without looking it up, but I just wanted booze. Or a sazerac, or an old-fashioned. Or some other kind of old-timey cocktail that is mostly just hard liquor, at least $10, with one of those fancy, all-natural maraschino cherries. Maybe it's really the cherry I'm after actually - anything with sugar!!! :yum

On the bright side, just spent a weekend with friends and everybody was so hungover Sunday morning, but I felt great! Now that's pretty nice!
 

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The fact that US guidelines tell pregnant women to not to eat foods containing alcohol makes me question just how low the common denominator mother they are aiming for is. We get that heavy drinking causes problems, but how many servings of beef bourguignon or chicken marsala would you have to eat to cause FAS? You'd explode from a heart attack long before that happened. I wish doctors who know their patients and/or can assess their patient's situation would just be honest about actual risks. I feel like women would be more likely to follow something that actually made sense instead of being over the top. I just saw a study in my state saying that 1 in 10 pregnant women admit they drink some alcohol during pregnancy. The people behind the study were all shocked that the more education a woman had, the more likely she was to imbibe. I was like, duh! Because they can read the studies for themselves and assess the actual risk.

Meanwhile the rate of FAS is about one infant in 1,000. I'm assuming this doesn't include stillbirths and low birth weight infants whose mothers drank, but still. The numbers don't match the rates of alcohol use.
 

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I do not drink any alcohol during pregnancy at all, ever.
 

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The fact that US guidelines tell pregnant women to not to eat foods containing alcohol makes me question just how low the common denominator mother they are aiming for is. We get that heavy drinking causes problems, but how many servings of beef bourguignon or chicken marsala would you have to eat to cause FAS? You'd explode from a heart attack long before that happened. I wish doctors who know their patients and/or can assess their patient's situation would just be honest about actual risks. I feel like women would be more likely to follow something that actually made sense instead of being over the top. I just saw a study in my state saying that 1 in 10 pregnant women admit they drink some alcohol during pregnancy. The people behind the study were all shocked that the more education a woman had, the more likely she was to imbibe. I was like, duh! Because they can read the studies for themselves and assess the actual risk.

Meanwhile the rate of FAS is about one infant in 1,000. I'm assuming this doesn't include stillbirths and low birth weight infants whose mothers drank, but still. The numbers don't match the rates of alcohol use.
I saw that study, and they linked it to college binge drinking. *insert eyeroll*
 

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I don't drink at all, but I notice that here in Denmark, the attitude about both drinking, and food during pregnancy is different from in the U.S. I've heard that about Europe in general. People thought I was crazy for not eating brie, Camembert and Danish blue cheese during my first pregnancy. This time, I'm eating them all. This is a developed country and the guidelines, though different, still manage to protect moms and unborn children.
 

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I wish doctors who know their patients and/or can assess their patient's situation would just be honest about actual risks. I feel like women would be more likely to follow something that actually made sense instead of being over the top.

@MN BabyDust I feel like this statement articulates perfectly the way I feel so often when I go to the doctor! I am so much more likely to just ignore my doctor's advice if I don't feel like I'm being listened to or treated as an individual. The advice on pregnancy and alcohol from doctors often seems like it's just a regurgitation of the party line, that the doctor hasn't even spent as much time as I have reading up on the studies.

Case in point the other direction, last ob/gyn appt I mentioned to the doctor (not my regular one, but a sub) that I was having bad headaches and post nasal drainage (neither of which I ever get normally). Before I could really even finish my sentence she told me it was probably allergies and to just take claritin. Well, I know claritin is probably fine when you're pregnant but I'm really not into taking drugs much anyway, plus I didn't think the problem was allergies. So I ignored her and just tripled my water intake and guess what? Drainage and headaches virtually eliminated! Just by drinking good ol' water, which is good for me anyway. We know our bodies more than we think we do, and more than we are sometimes given credit for by others.

Meanwhile a friend of mine who is also pregnant had her doctor tell her it was fine to drink a glass of wine every day or so, and that if she has morning sickness, to just smoke some pot. Hah! Not a pot-smoker myself but I kinda like his attitude!
 

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@MN BabyDust I feel like this statement articulates perfectly the way I feel so often when I go to the doctor! I am so much more likely to just ignore my doctor's advice if I don't feel like I'm being listened to or treated as an individual. The advice on pregnancy and alcohol from doctors often seems like it's just a regurgitation of the party line, that the doctor hasn't even spent as much time as I have reading up on the studies.

Case in point the other direction, last ob/gyn appt I mentioned to the doctor (not my regular one, but a sub) that I was having bad headaches and post nasal drainage (neither of which I ever get normally). Before I could really even finish my sentence she told me it was probably allergies and to just take claritin. Well, I know claritin is probably fine when you're pregnant but I'm really not into taking drugs much anyway, plus I didn't think the problem was allergies. So I ignored her and just tripled my water intake and guess what? Drainage and headaches virtually eliminated! Just by drinking good ol' water, which is good for me anyway. We know our bodies more than we think we do, and more than we are sometimes given credit for by others.

Meanwhile a friend of mine who is also pregnant had her doctor tell her it was fine to drink a glass of wine every day or so, and that if she has morning sickness, to just smoke some pot. Hah! Not a pot-smoker myself but I kinda like his attitude!
I hear ya, Peebs. Btw, I've also had sinus trouble with this pregnancy. And some ear aches, pressure etc. After checking me out, the doc said it's probably just that hormones can cause increase in all kinds of fluids including mucous in my sinuses and while irritating, it's just a pregnancy thing that will go away after the baby is born. And to take tylenol if it's bugging me, both for pain and as an anti-inflammatory for the sinuses. Fortunately it's not all the time, it comes and goes.
 
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