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Last Post - Heavy Drinking Before I Knew I Was Pregnant (have to decide today)

(161 Posts)
tsmith02162013 Thu 28-Feb-13 15:01:59

I appreciate the women who responded to my first thread about drinking (heavily) before I knew I was pregnant.

I have to make a decision today as to what I am going to do- keeping going or not. I am hoping to hear from any woman who drank as heavily as I did before she knew she was pregnant and then went on to have the baby.

When I was 28 days (4 weeks) since my last period, I drank two bottles of wine (standard 750 ML size) in one night. The next night, I had 3 drinks (1 beer, 2 glasses of wine), and the night after, I had 4-5 beers.

I was also drinking earlier that month, usually a glass of wine here or there. What really worries me is the binge drinking, the heavy drinking, the night of 2 bottles of wine.

If I can find mums who had a drinking problem like I did, who drank that heavily before they knew, I think it would be enough to settle my mind. My GP and midwife, who I saw since the last thread, were not very reassuring, although we did see a heartbeat.

MajaBiene Sun 03-Mar-13 22:05:45

Go back to your doctor and ask him what information he was using to come to the conclusion that maternal alcohol consumption at 2 weeks post conception could damage an embryo.

mylittlepuds Sun 03-Mar-13 22:09:22

Agree with Maja.

LemonPeculiarJones Sun 03-Mar-13 23:09:34

I wonder what year the medical profession decided that alcohol should be avoided in pregnancy? I'm guessing about forty or fifty years ago, less perhaps? Does anyone know? I can't seem to wade through the google answers to find anything useful.

Because it would be interesting to compare stats - preponderance of abnormalities before and after the change in attitudes.

Women used to drink throughout their pregnancies not so long ago - encouraged to drink Guinness etc.

OP I think your issue is with your anxiety rather than your pregnancy. Have you spoken to another doctor, and/or a midwife?

SeriousStuff Sun 03-Mar-13 23:31:42

In my own personal (non-medical) opinion, I think your initial anxiety over this issue has grown into a fixation that you cannot shake off. From reading your posts on this thread, it sounds like me when I get into a panic/anxious state of mind and no amount of reassurance is going to help you.

I'm on anti-depressants and made the very difficult decision to keep taking them while pg. I'm obviously worried about any potential side effects, but the risks of taking them outweighed those of not taking them. I've just had to put it out of my mind and trust that all will be well. At least with alcohol, I was able to give up as soon as I got my BFP.

Your Dr isn't helping - I would personally get an appointment with a different Dr for a second opinion, and tell them exactly how you feel.

I was drinking (ale, wine, whisky, amarreto sours!) up until I found out I was pregnant (and eating brie and cured meats) - had been pregnant for 2 weeks before I found out. But have read that the baby doesn't use your blood supply until around 6 weeks.

Other things I've worried about is - when my dog has jumped up on my stomach, or when I've tripped over something quite awkwardly, or accidentally hitting myself in the stomach with a dumbell (yes, it happened!). But you must realise that your baby is more resilient than you think and the fact that you've identified a heartbeat is a great sign that all is developing well.

I really hope you find the peace of mind you so obviously want, but trust all of us who have posted on here when we say that your alcohol consumption at the beginning will have no bearing on the future health of your baby.

Remember that we're here for you whatever your decision and will gladly hold your hand thanks

tsmith02162013 Sun 03-Mar-13 23:59:36

Thank you, SeriousStuff! I know I am fixated on this issue. The doctor I spoke to was a perinatal expert, and I have really taken his "concerns" to heart.

I don't mean to be unfair to anyone by mentioning termination. However, when I tried to raise my concerns, a lot of women say "there is nothing you can do about the drinking now, just focus on having a healthy pregnancy going forward." But there is something that I can do- I can decide whether the heavy, heavy drinking created a risk that I cannot live with.

My GP did not think that the drinking (the two bottles of wine in one night at 4 weeks post my period) was enough to create a "shock," but I was referred to the perinatal consultant so I could get more information and to, hopefully, calm my concerns. It was that doctor who told me that the risk could not be quantified, that there was no way to evaluate the damage I had done, etc. He did indicate that there was a chance that the baby would be okay, but he was not enthusiastic.

I am working with a counselor who has told me that I have anxiety, that I have probably had anxiety issues my whole life, and that the unplanned pregnancy and the issue with the heavy drinking has just taken it all to a whole new level.

I am sorry if I have frustrated anyone, but I kept thinking "if I find one woman, one more woman, who drank as heavily as I did before she knew, I can stop worrying about this and I can start focusing on the future." Maybe I was wrong.

MajaBiene Mon 04-Mar-13 00:03:19

Well, now from this thread you have heard from women who drank as heavily as you and who had healthy children so I hope you feel reassured.

SeriousStuff Mon 04-Mar-13 00:22:02

I'm glad you're seeking help for the anxiety - I would definitely talk through this with your counsellor as he/she can help you work through what are probably irrational worries.

mylittlepuds Mon 04-Mar-13 07:09:30

The doctor can never never give you 100% assurances.

I hope this helps you somewhat but I suffer extreme anxiety (crisis team stuff initially) and one of my issues is health anxiety.

Anyhow about six months ago I found a lump in my armpit. My anxiety wad on a whole new plane. I was categorically convinced it was cancer - lymphoma - and was consumed day and night. I saw three GPs all who said it was most likely a cyst. I got quite upset with the third one and said that I can't deal with 'most likely'. He said he was sorry but there are no 100% in this life - not good for anxiety sufferers but true. They can't lie to make us feel better. We as anxiety sufferers need a clear cut and dry answer.

Anyhow I insisted on a referral. He was very reluctant and said the only reason he was doing it was anxiety related. So
I could "print the diagnosis off and put it in a frame." (he's lovely).

It was a sebaceous cyst. I've had a scan and consultant examine it. Despite that there are STILL days when I think "it's still there though...it's getting bigger".)

No one is going to be able to categorically tell you the baby will be 100# okay. Your 20 week scan might help but not fully as an anxiety sufferer you'll be onto the next worry. "what if the scan didn't pick the problem up etc."

The likelihood is that the baby is totally fine. No one can say more than that though - even doctors.

mylittlepuds Mon 04-Mar-13 07:12:18

* sorry for typos - opening para shouldn't say 'never never' - just 'never'!

Was not wad...

100% not 100#

tsmith02162013 Tue 05-Mar-13 23:47:51

I saw my counsellor today, who is recommending that I consider taking anti-depressants. She continues to believe that I have pre-existing anxiety issues and that the heavy, heavy drinking before I knew I was pregnant has given me something to fixate on.

I am trying to focus on my mental health and am going to try to stop worrying about whether I should terminate/if the drinking two bottles of wine at once was too much for a few days. As many of you have said, I should stop being so harsh on myself, and I am going to try that for a bit.

I have been so tormented by this "quest" to find any woman who drank as much as I did at 4 weeks since her last cycle. I kept thinking that if one woman were out there who had a healthy child, I could stop worrying. Clearly, the issues are bigger than that.

MajaBiene Tue 05-Mar-13 23:51:22

But you have seen there are women that drank that much on this thread and your other one.

tsmith02162013 Wed 06-Mar-13 00:13:42

MajaBiene, I am sorry to disagree, but I have read all of the replies (obsessively, as I told my counsellor), and I have done the math and although many women have been kind enough to share their stories about drinking before they knew, I still had the most to drink (unit per unit) in one night, at 4 weeks from my last cycle.

Two bottles of wine is the equivalent of 18 to 20 units, at 750 ML a bottle (and at the quality that I was drinking). I just do not see a post with more units than that.

FerrisBueller1972 Wed 06-Mar-13 00:38:09

Ok, I found out I was pregnant early February after drinking daily throughout Xmas and new year and in excess of a couple of bottles a Day/night Throw some recreational drugs into the mix and spirits/shots and you get the picture.

Ds is 7, perfectly bright and healthy.

I can't change it but I know what has already been said time and time again on this thread. The foetus was not attached to my blood supply in the early weeks.

You really need to accept that and good luck with your counselling.

Please try to enjoy your pregnancy and forgive yourself. It was not heavy, heavy drinking for one night. Really.

ladymia Wed 06-Mar-13 00:38:53

Is the answer that you want to hear "The situation is hopeless, you have caused damage to this baby"?

Nobody is going to tell you that because at 4 weeks I would say most of us agree you haven't! I have no idea why that doctor told you that and I have a hard time believing it.

Have you thought how you would deal with a 20 weeks scan showing a baby is not absolutely perfect regardless of drinking or not? Or how you would deal with your testing at 12 weeks for DS showing a high risk?

Pregnancy is one huge risk which perhaps you are not yet ready for so maybe it's time to consider these other options you have been exploring. It certainly seems you are more comfortable with aborting than risking having a child with FAS because that is what it comes down to really (this is of course your choice and I do not judge you for it) I think ultimately you should be ready for a baby and all the good and bad that comes with it, the rewards AND the risk. If you are not ready, then you are just not ready.

I would definitely discuss this more with the cousellor because it's very different aborting a baby because you KNOW there are complications rather than aborting a child based on your understanding of a risk that may or may not have complications.

Sorry this post could be seen as offensive but let's not skirt around the issue. It seems you want permission to end this nightmare for yourself.

Have you thought of contacting an expert in the FAS field?

http://www.nofas-uk.org/

Call the NOFAS-UK helpline on 020 8458 5951.

Surely their word should be worth something? This doctor you have seen frankly sounds like an idiot and to just take his word without seeking expert knowledge (and I don't mean posting on Mumsnet) is ridiculous.

I feel my reply will fall on deaf ears though and the only way I could help you is to say "You're right, there is no hope"

AmberLeaf Wed 06-Mar-13 00:57:52

but I have read all of the replies (obsessively, as I told my counsellor), and I have done the math and although many women have been kind enough to share their stories about drinking before they knew, I still had the most to drink (unit per unit) in one night, at 4 weeks from my last cycle

That is not true at all.

Did you see my earlier post?

Over the course of an early evening meal and after me and a friend drank 6 bottles between us. That was 13% alcohol white wine

I was about 4 weeks pregnant

My son is fine

I drank more than you, I had at least 3 bottles. I'm sure there are other examples of that on this thread too.

I know you have anxiety issues and it's good you are getting help with that, but you are ignoring what is being said here.

I expect that is due to your anxiety though, but seriously, your baby will not have been harmed by what you drank that night.

It does seem like you are looking for a reason to terminate though, I thought that when I first read this thread.

I appreciate that an unplanned pregnancy and anxiety are a difficult mix and I hope you get the support you need.

tsmith02162013 Wed 06-Mar-13 02:42:35

I was drinking a cabernet with a higher alcohol content, and I had a beer thrown in as well, which I forgot about until a friend mentioned it. But you are right, AmberLeaf, you may have had the equivalent to what I did. (I did the math of unit per unit before, but I must have gotten off based on the potency of the wine.)

The doctor who was negative about my chances specializes in perinatal development and is well-regarded in his field. I would not just take the word of one doctor, but his word felt like it had more weight, given his background.

This might sound selfish and ridiculous, but mind you, I am seeking counselling-- in my mind, I would see a child that had a genetic abnormality in a different light than a child that I harmed by being a reckless, heavy drinker. What has me so terrified is the idea that I might some day have to tell my child "you are disabled because your mother drank too much alcohol before she knew she was pregnant." If there were something amiss that were not due to alcohol, I could find a way to cope and be the best parent I could be. It is the guilt of me directly harming the child that has me so scared.

I know that might seem contradictory- why would I want to consider terminating? Wouldn't that absolutely harm the child (i.e. it has no chance to exist)? This is exactly why my husband does not want me to terminate the pregnancy, and to be honest, I do not think I really want to either, deep down. I have literally made appointments to have a termination and showed up at the clinic, only to walk away because I could not do it yet.

Clearly this is something I am struggling with. In "real life," I cannot talk about these worries with anyone, least of all my husband, and other than the counsellor, I feel like I am on my own.

That is why I am asking about anti-depressants and pregnancy, if anyone has considered taking them or has taken them. If I am going to care this child, I know that stress and anxiety are not good, and I want to do the best I can to have a healthy pregnancy from here on out.

Beepbeep1 Wed 06-Mar-13 03:04:52

But you didn't know you were pregnant!!! Morally speaking you've done nothing wrong.

I'm no doctor but rationally the worst I think that could have happened was a shock to you body so severe you would have miscarried. Babies don't develop in 24 hours - it's obviously gradual - so anything developmental like FAS is logically speaking out of the question entirely isn't it?

Come on!! Put this in a box and get on with it. I know how horrendous anxiety is but try and think this is not in your hands. As another poster said it's never 100% a baby is going to be healthy - even after they're here it's a risky business.

All you can do is your best. The past is gone and you ain't gonna change it. You had a load to drink but you didn't know.

Beepbeep1 Wed 06-Mar-13 03:06:38

* obviously I meant miscarrying as in the day after!!!! Not now!!!!

Beepbeep1 Wed 06-Mar-13 03:07:18

* and that didn't happen smile

cafecito Wed 06-Mar-13 03:26:38

I work with some FAS research. I really want to drum it into you, that you should not be worried about this. Please. I drank loads with my DC before I realised. I mean, loads. Many people drink without realisign they are pregnant.

This is either you seeking permission to terminate- for some other reason

or

your anxiety. I am no stranger to anxiety disorders or depression.

But the alcohol is not the issue. Please relax about that - your baby, as far as anyone can tell- is healthy right now. This is not about what you drank (which sounds like a lot in one night, yes, but many people will drink a lot night after night after night, before they even realise). please relax about that.

do you want this baby?

cafecito Wed 06-Mar-13 03:30:44

you can't erase a human being, just because you want to go back to the beginning and do things better. do you think you will feel better for doing that? that's taking your anxiety and perfectionistic drive to a whole unreasonable level.

sorry to sound harsh- but that's just not okay. if you want a baby, you have this baby. if you're not okay with being pregnant- then don't apportion your anxiety onto the drink matter, it's displacing it away from what you really need to be addressing right now

detoxlatte Wed 06-Mar-13 03:34:30

OP, it is clear from your posts that this is about your anxieties.

You have heard on this thread the very thing you are seeking to hear, and yet you continue to seek reassurance.

Now the anxieties are moving over to taking ADs while pg.

Anxiety can be crippling, I know that from experience.

However, parenthood is, imho, full of anxieties from the outset. There is ALWAYS something to worry about.

I don't say that to worry you more, actually quite the opposite. If you are to continue, perhaps it may help to try to separate the anxious feelings you have from the things you are anxious about ie. acknowledge your anxieties as needing something to hone in on, but try to assess that thing without the anxiety and with a cool head (your posts are exceptionally (for MN at least!) considered, rational and logical). To me it is clear from your posts that, intellectually, you know what the position is. However your anxiety is preventing you from acting upon that knowledge, and as a consequence you are stuck (or were).

Good luck, I wish you strength in this.

crazyhead Wed 06-Mar-13 09:29:01

Hi OP

Firstly, my sympathies. I too am newly pregnant and drank before I realised, so I do get your anxiety as I also feel anxious about it. I think that if a specialist was off with me about it, I’d feel even more anxious.

I wonder if you are not going to get what you need from asking about how much other people drunk and what happened, because you need to know what to do personally.

For what it is worth, the time you drank (2 weeks post fertilisation) is probably going to be OK, because this stage is pre-embryonic – from what I understand the blastocyst that becomes your baby is a group of undifferentiated cells and there isn’t much evidence that at this stage, it is susceptible to alcohol. But I daresay because timing wise you were at the end of this stage, your perinatal specialist wasn’t prepared to give you an all clear.

Also, think about what the perinatal specialist’s reaction to you might actually mean. That doctor probably sees woman all day going through dreadful pregnancy problems not of their making, and people like you (and it also could be me - I’m not being pompous!) come along and say that they pointlessly endangered their pregnancy by boozing. He may have thought it was fair enough to make you sweat a bit. He wouldn’t have realised quite how you’d react!

Could you now go back to that or another doctor and get a handle on what your actual statistical chances of birth defects are? I think that this doctor’s reaction has made you feel it is 50/50 or something, and I don’t think that is accurate.

I’ve heard the figure before that of women who drink in pregnancy, including some serious alcoholics, 3 in 1000 have children with FAS (borne out by the many good news stories on this thread I guess). If you had a 3 in 1000 chance of Down syndrome at your 12 week scan, you wouldn’t even qualify for further testing. Your chance of a child developing autism might be a bit higher than that. So we’re quite possibly talking about a tiny chance – and you’re taking a chance of plenty of other things by just having a baby.

Like I say – I do really understand how you feel, but I think that to look at this logically you need a better grasp of the actual level of risk.

pyjamalover Wed 06-Mar-13 10:56:27

I read a quote on MN when i was pregnant:

You start worrying the day you find out you're pregnant, and you stop worrying the day your heart stops.

it's so true! And it sounds like you're a bit of a worrier anyway. We will worry about the booze, then about all the pregnancy complications, then about the birth, then when the babys out we worry about their feeding, development, health, all the terrible (rare) things that might happen to them. When they're older we can worry about drugs, pregnancy etc.

I think in order to stay sane as mothers we have to try and put our worry out of our minds, at least a bit, or we'd never enjoy the daily miracles of having a child.

Hope you make a decision you're comfortable with, and try to accept that a bit of worrying is normal.

BabyRoger Wed 06-Mar-13 11:13:46

Before I knew I was pregnant with my first baby I drank LOADS. I was on holiday with DH for 2 weeks and I really went to town on that holiday. 2 bottles of wine in a night more than once easily. My mum had just died and I was going overboard on the drinking.

We got back from holiday and 2 days later went away for the weekend in a big group. Loads more drinking with my friends. Shots, all sorts.

When we got back from that we were saying, we really need to have a dry month. That was ridiculous drinking. I found out I was pregnant about 4 days after that (I was 6 weeks).

My DD was absolutely fine. 7lbs 9oz. I told the midwife at booking in that I had been drinking loads before I knew. She didn't bat an eyelid, just said so had she! She also mentioned that there was no placenta at that point.

I think your description of 2 bottles of wine as "extreme" is a bit, well extreme. I know it's not ideal but in my opinion, it is not extreme.

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