Would you like to be a member of our research panel? Join here - there's (nearly) always a great incentive offered for your views.

Danish research on drinking alcohol in pregnancy

(78 Posts)
OneTwoOrThree Wed 20-Jun-12 10:02:48

BBC Article

Interesting, and hopefully of some comfort to those who have drunk a lot bit before they knew they were pregnant, and those who enjoy the occasional large medium glass of wine.

annieee Wed 20-Jun-12 10:16:50

doesn't surprise me tbh, I think the majority of the alcohol scaremongering is to deter reaaalllllyyy thick parents who think a few units = a few bottles of wine!

Herrena Wed 20-Jun-12 10:28:27

Sounds reasonable to me. Only thing I'd point out is that there are other things than IQ that can be affected, although I guess they can't check for everything!

I make this comment as someone who stuck rigidly to the '1-2 units once or twice a week' guideline for both pregnancies smile

bettybat Wed 20-Jun-12 10:58:12

I tend to err on the side of not having any - but that's just my feelings about it, and not intended to be a judgment of people who do.

I think I actually feel more baffled that our society as a whole can't go nine months without a drink - that we need to consume, even if it's just a few paltry units a week. If - for instance, as a wild hypothetical - they said, oh you know a little bit of weed consumed in food is fine or a couple of cigarettes a week is OK, there's still no way I'd actually do it. It's only really because it's alcohol that it's more socially acceptable.

But that's more of a cultural/society thing rather than an individual choice thing.

CakeBump Wed 20-Jun-12 11:06:31

this does not mean that women can use this as an excuse to indulge in more than the recommended amount in the UK.

this has made me very angry indeed. "Excuse"!! Who the fuck does he think he is!!??

This article is of particular interest to me at the moment as I'm 14 weeks and have one glass of wine a week. My DM and Auntie are CONSTANTLY going on about this, as apparently my Aunt went on a course about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome which spent an entire day scaring the bejeesus out of the audience by saying ANY drinking at all in pregnancy can cause it.

I always suspected that was bollocks and now I feel even more justified....

Splinters Wed 20-Jun-12 13:28:01

Bollocks indeed. I think that "excuse" comment is indicative of just how much controlling bollocks surrounds issues like pregnancy, alcohol, women in general in this country..

Can't say I'm feeling all that interested in alcohol at the moment, but if I start to want the odd small glass of wine, I'll have it. It has to go through my liver first before it gets anywhere near the placenta ffs!

CakeBump Wed 20-Jun-12 13:58:18

This speaker on the course put an egg yolk in a glass of vodka for half an hour. It sort of cooked in the end and he held it up as an example of what you are doing to your foetus.

I'm drinking the odd glass of wine ffs, not pickling the thing in pure alcohol...

Brugmansia Wed 20-Jun-12 14:47:47

A few weeks ago I did a bit of basic internet research into food and drink guidelines during pregnancy as I find the nhs advice overtly simplistic. I found an old thread on the bad science forum discussing FAS. there was a FAS advocate who used the egg yoke example, to which it was pointed out you can get the same effect from all sorts of liquiday, such as coke or vinegar, that are clearly harmless.

CakeBump Wed 20-Jun-12 14:53:34

Interesting, Brugsmania.... I'll be trotting that one out next time they start!

Thanks

Herrena Wed 20-Jun-12 14:56:48

Hi splinters

I thought exactly the same (about how the alcohol has to go through my liver first) but then someone on another thread put me straight!

'When alcohol is consumed, it passes from the stomach and intestines into the blood, a process referred to as absorption. Alcohol is then metabolized by enzymes, which are body chemicals that break down other chemicals. In the liver, an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) mediates the conversion of alcohol to acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is rapidly converted to acetate by other enzymes and is eventually metabolized to carbon dioxide and water.'

So the alcohol does get into your blood first and the foetus is exposed for a brief period prior to the liver doing its work. Personally I think that as long as you don't knock back 2 units in a single shot then all will be well, but just thought I'd mention this.

I got the quote from this website btw smile

Brugmansia Wed 20-Jun-12 15:04:50

From what I can remember this person was also putting forward arguments about the prevalence of fasd based on some pretty dodgy stats.

Bue Wed 20-Jun-12 16:38:54

Yet another study showing that there is no evidence of risk to the fetus from moderate drinking. It's high time they rescinded the ridiculous DofH recommendation to abstain completely.

monkeymoma Wed 20-Jun-12 18:53:21

Bue "moderate" is so subjective, that's the probem, if your MW is confident that "your" moderate really is moderate she'll advise you that its okay, if she thinks otherwise IMO its best for her to advise against it!

WutheringTights Wed 20-Jun-12 20:10:01

There was a UCL study in the UK released a couple of years ago where they followed 11,500 babies up to the age of 5. The found that babies born to mothers who were light drinkers were 30% less likely to have behavioral problems than babies born to mothers who didn't drink while pregnant. They also scored more highly on cognitive tests.

Details here www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/1010/10100602

Herrena Wed 20-Jun-12 20:34:59

wutheringtights - I think I love that link, if only for the way it goes against the judgy grain grin thank you for sharing it!

WutheringTights you are my new hero...

iwantbabies Wed 20-Jun-12 20:53:23

Playing a bit of devils advocate here but would you put a small amount of alcohol in your baby's bottle when they're born? I don't see it as being any different.

Herrena Wed 20-Jun-12 21:08:51

iwantbabies I think that people used to be advised to do just that in order to get their baby to sleep!!

I personally wouldn't - what a waste....

iwantbabies Wed 20-Jun-12 21:18:42

I know but people just wouldn't do it these days because we know how harmful alcohol is. I'll admit I don't know about quantities of alcohol that cross the placenta if, for example, you drink a glass of wine but I just can't see why this isn't potentially harmful when you consider the small size of the baby. In my opinion it's just not worth it but I appreciate other people have a different view.

SardineQueen Wed 20-Jun-12 21:20:37

When you consume alcohol it is absorbed into your bloodstream.

The blood then circulates around obv. I think alcohol passes freely through the placenta.

However the % alcohol in the blood is not the same as the % alcohol in your glass. It has been diluted in your blood so if you have 8 pints of blood or whatever it is, it's like diluting your drink in 8 pints of water.

Anyway.

I agree with Splinters: "Bollocks indeed. I think that "excuse" comment is indicative of just how much controlling bollocks surrounds issues like pregnancy, alcohol, women in general in this country.."

Herrena Wed 20-Jun-12 21:37:09

iwantbabies I see what you're saying, but studies have actually been done (not including this one) which indicate that a small volume of alcohol consumed during pregnancy is not harmful to mother or baby.

I appreciate that alcohol consumption may not seem essential in pregnancy (or indeed at any time) but different people derive different things from it. It may help some to calm down, be less anxious, feel more able to integrate socially etc. I don't know, I'm guessing at the motivations of others here.

For me it's the fact that there is data out there showing that my actions are in all likelihood not harmful and yet the government is still trying to guilt-trip me into abstension (sp?). It's controlling and makes me feel like a naughty child. That makes me angry and less likely to follow their line. Which is childish, admittedly, but that's the effect it has on me and (I think) many others.

If there were evidence showing that my specific actions (1-2 units once or twice a week) harmed my baby then I wouldn't do it. However, I haven't seen that so far and it's not for want of studies devoted to the subject.

Brugmansia Thu 21-Jun-12 08:34:02

It doesn't make you a naughty child herrena. Telling people to just abstain on anything is overly simplistic and treats people like children. I find the food guidelines even worse for this approach.

Anyway, I had a glass of wine last night.

Blueaddie Thu 21-Jun-12 09:27:52

I think it is great that there is a study to say drinking is not the ultimate evil you can do while pregnant but I was always on the side of have a glass now and then and it will be fine.

UNFORTUNATELY my preggers body is a militant tee total. Every time I try and drink it either tastes completely wrong or I have the vomit comet within an hour. And don't get me wrong, Im not downing pints, I am talking about a sip of wine or two mouthfuls of lager.

So, those who can, ENJOY!!!! whilst I glare at you like the green eyed monster I am wink

FlangelinaBallerina Thu 21-Jun-12 09:38:14

The 'excuse' comment is fucking repulsive. I'd shank the twat who came out with that if I ever met him. I don't require an excuse to consume alcohol during pregnancy, although if I did, the fact that there's no evidence that moderate consumption is harmful would suffice. It would be very easy to define 'moderate' consumption and tell women exactly what that equals. The current practice simply insults me and lies to me, on the basis that I can't be trusted to tell the difference between a vodka and tonic and a whole bottle of whiskey. No doubt some pregnant women drink a bottle of spirits daily, but they are alcoholics and presumably not paying any attention to safe limits anyway.

Iwantbabies if you feel uneasy about drinking, clearly you're doing the best thing by not doing it. However, as there's no evidence at all that abstention is necessary, it's no more logical than abstaining from anything else that there's no evidence you need to abstain from. it makes total sense for you to abstain, but not because moderate consumption would be in any way comparable to feeding a baby alcohol. It's about your peace of mind. Other woman may find that a drink or two every week brings them the same stress reduction benefits as abstaining does for you. In the absence of any evidence at all that one approach is more harmful than the other, each is as valid a choice.

Bue Thu 21-Jun-12 10:01:29

The DofH more or less admitted that the recommendation to abstain was brought in, not because of any evidence that low level drinking is harmful, but because women are too dumb to know what a unit is and they might get it wrong (they didn't quite put it like that!). I completely agree that units are very confusing - ask 3 people, you will get 3 different answers. But all that is required is some very basic education! Telling people to abstain rather than arming them with the information to make an informed decision is ridiculous!!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now