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Controversial!!! Have/do you drink alcohol in pregnancy?

(345 Posts)
DanniiH Mon 04-Feb-13 10:02:27

Hi mummies.

Just wanting to get some opinions from real people not a regulatory body.

Personally I don't see the harm in having a glass of wine when pregnant but guidelines say to have none. I'm sure we've all heard people say my mum drank lots and I turned out fine and this is usually true I'm sure. With my son I drank a small glass of wine most nights, he is 3 and scarily bright so I've obviously caused him no harm. I'm pregnant again and whilst I won't drink every night I will have one if I fancy it.

Anyone else agree with this?
Anyone know of anyone where moderate drinking has caused harm to a child?

Bejeena Mon 04-Feb-13 10:17:10

I am sure that one glass every now and then does no harm.

However at the moment the thought of wine for me (am 12 weeks) makes me feel sick, I couldn't stand the thought of drinking it perhaps because I have been so sick and associate being sick with booze, I don't know.

So that is why I am not drinking, perhaps if I get over the initial sickness I might start to fancy a glass again and maybe have one then.

Oh and no have never known of moderate drinking to cause harm, I know plenty of women who have drunk during pregnancy and have healthy children.

weeblueberry Mon 04-Feb-13 10:19:46

I suspect the reason they say no alcohol whatsoever is because if they said 'X amount of units' people would go over because lots of people don't know much much makes up a unit.

Personally I've not had much but then I wasn't a big drinker before so it's not been a hassle. I've had a wee glass of champagne at Hogmany and had a bowl of cranachan on Burns Night that I was informed later had about a dram and a half of whisky in it! Oh well.

Pleasenomorepeppa Mon 04-Feb-13 10:23:43

I was told by my MW a unit a week is fine, unless its a special occasion!! I didn't ask, she just volunteered the information!

fl0b0t Mon 04-Feb-13 10:26:02

I would happily enjoy a glass of champagne if I weren't so sick sad
I'd avoid wher, e poss during first trimester.

mummybare Mon 04-Feb-13 10:33:23

I had the odd glass - probably just a small glass once or twice a month. I did get the odd 'look' when I was obviously pg and out, but I ignored them. That amount does no harm whatsoever. I would avoid drinking more than a couple of times a week, though, personally.

sundaesundae Mon 04-Feb-13 10:34:30

Had three of four glasses of champagne over the last 33 weeks, not a drinker anyway, so haven't missed it. I am looking forward to a cocktail or two afterwards!

Verekerlady Mon 04-Feb-13 10:46:38

I've been told that the reason they tell women not to drink at all, especially in the first 3 months is because alcohol affects each person differently. So where one glass of wine might not have much effect on one pregnant woman it could cause fetal alcohol problems for another pregnant woman. It's impossible to tell who would be more affected so that's why they say none.

I'm not going to drink as its not worth it, and it's only a few months with alcohol. Each to their own, of course, but I would definitely be against it in the first 3 months when the baby's organs and nervous system is initially forming.

Bunnychan Mon 04-Feb-13 10:57:15

I had none in my first Tri. In my second I have had a Buck's Fizz at Christmas, a tiny drop of champers to toast a friends birthday; literally a little bit in a glass. The other day I had half a small glass of red with my meal and it made me feel really light headed so I won't be doing that again. I thinks it's a personal choice so long as its in moderation x

roofio87 Mon 04-Feb-13 11:11:09

I'm not drinking any. mainly because I've come to the (slightly horrifying) realisation that I'm a bit of a binge drinker.I've only ever indulged to have a good few drinks and get merry so the idea of just one drink seems pointless. this pregnancy lark is definitely making me re-evaluate my life!!x

Ellypoo Mon 04-Feb-13 11:16:20

I didn't have any until about 18 weeks, but that's because the smell/thought of it made me heave!! Since then though, I have had the odd small glass of wine (or prosecco at Christmas), which I think is fine. The guidelines say 1-2 units, 1-2 times/week so I think the odd one is fine!

LexyMa Mon 04-Feb-13 11:19:40

I'm in first trimester and have been drinking half a glass of wine a couple of times a week. We both cut down anyway while TTC so it's not a big shock.

Drank all the way through first pregnancy too - similar amount. Only wine and ale, nothing distilled or over-processed. The one change I've made is to go for quality, looking for organically produced hoppy type ales, and wine with low sulphites and additives, and generally you find they cost a bit more, are better quality and taste too. So that half a glass becomes really worth savouring and doesn't feel like a hardship!

Keeping consumption down while BF-ing I actually found a lot harder, first time round. I do now know that I sleep better and wake up more refreshed when I haven't had any booze at all, so perhaps that is going to convince me (well, us both) to keep consumption down when we have a 4yo and newborn to keep up with!

Bue Mon 04-Feb-13 11:21:45

I would, yes. And most women I know don't go through pregnancy without having at least one drink. Official advice from NICE is still that 1-2 units is OK, btw. You can find it in their antenatal care guideline.

nagynolonger Mon 04-Feb-13 11:22:01

My eldest is 32 and my youngest 16. I am not a heavy drinker but did drink during all 6 pregnancies. I know with the eldest we were told smoking was a no no but moderate drinking was fine. So you trust the experts.

The only time I did worry was when I found out I was unexpectedlyshock pregnant with one of my youngest DC. I realised that we were on holiday with friends when I was 6-7 weeks and had drunk wine every lunch and evening for over a week. When I mentioned it to MW and doctors I was told that ideally I shouldn't have done it but just but it to the back of my mind.

Thankfully all 6 of my DC are fine. But three of them are dyslexic so if in the future some clever cloggs finds a link to dyslexia and drinking in pregnancy I will never forgive myself. Having said that two of my nephews are also dyslexic and SIL is tea total

ladymia Mon 04-Feb-13 11:30:39

Personally I stopped drinking as soon as we started trying to get pregnant and have not touched it since. (now 34 wks)

Really doesn't matter to me what others do though but I would feel too guilty doing it.

Miss a glass of wine though!

JessieEssex Mon 04-Feb-13 11:32:55

I'm 32+1 and have probably had 10-15 drinks in total this pregnancy, and never more than one per 'session'! I haven't much felt like it, particularly during the first trimester. Every now and then I fancy a glass of really cold white wine, but I never fancy a second (which is most unlike me...)

I agree with weeblueberry that we probably aren't told that we can have x units per week, as the fear is that pregnant women will either go over that amount, or drink it all at once...

nagynolonger Mon 04-Feb-13 11:34:09

Not sure what the advice is regard drinking while BF but I was told by more than one MW to drink Guiness!..........I did try but it's absolutely foul so I missed out on whatever vitamin Guiness contains.

peanutMD Mon 04-Feb-13 11:51:52

Guiness is full of iron.

Personally I wouldn't be able to enjoy a drink whilst pregnant without feeling guilty so I just don't touch it but like someone else said I was a bit of a binge drinker before hand.

It is also in part due to the fact that I have worked with several children who have varying degrees of FAS and can't bare the idea that it is completely avoidable and couldn't willingly risk it.

Disclaimer: I am fully aware that FAS is most likely caused by excessive alcohol consumption as opposed to a few drinks, this is just my personal opinion.

I still don't understand guidelines tbh they need to be made clearer WRT alcohol and cigarettes although it would be impossible and unethical to enforce a blanket ban.

RoxyLady Mon 04-Feb-13 12:02:47

I wouldnt even chance a glass for my babies health, but that is just my own preference. I havent drunk anything while I was trying to while I am now currently pregnant.
I would kill for a barcardi and coke though smile

orangetickle Mon 04-Feb-13 12:29:26

It's all a balance of risks, like most things in pregnancy.

I choose to drink, since I don't think that the risk of harm from one small glass a week/fortnight is high enough to warrant the hysteria around drinking that amount. However I wouldn't drink more than that, since then the balance starts to tip towards increased risk (IMO).

Personally, I think you're more likely to harm your baby by being involved in a car crash than by having a glass of wine every so often, but nothing is ever said about pregnant women 'daring' to drive places...

Oh and guidelines don't always say none. Kingston NHS, for example, says you can have 1-2 units 1-2 times a week...

redandyellowandpinkandgreen Mon 04-Feb-13 13:36:40

I won't drink during the first trimester. Last time I had maybe 6 drinks the whole pregnancy, would have a small wine now and again or half a shandy. I'll see how I feel this time but it doesn't bother me too much not drinking at all.

ChunkyPickle Mon 04-Feb-13 13:45:58

I have a glass of whatever if I feel like it, although I'm off pretty much everything at the moment as strong flavours make me feel sick...

I've read a load of studies, and not one has shown light drinking to be a problem. There have even been some that appear to show some benefits.

DialMforMummy Mon 04-Feb-13 13:50:19

I had a glass of wine every week but would not have had a drink every night, no matter how small. I have no regrets.
I agree with the others who say that the main problem is that we don't really know what a unit actually is and therefore we might be drinking more than we think. Therein lies the danger me thinks.

CareerGirl01 Mon 04-Feb-13 13:53:55

I have had more alcohol this pregnancy than during first. But to be honest that's still not much, maybe five glasses of sparkling wine in six months? I'll probably stay off it now I'm in my last trimester. In the early stages of this pregnancy the idea of drinking red wine in particular made me feel sick. I had to ask my FIL to move his glass so I couldn't smell it!

DanniiH Mon 04-Feb-13 14:02:23

Wow lots of responses. Everybody makes valid points I think. I wish I could just go off it but I love my wine! I am going to make an effort though, think I'll stay off it in the week and have a glass or 2 at the weekend. x

BraveLilBear Mon 04-Feb-13 14:12:03

It's a tricky one... I had half a bottle of Bud at about 13 weeks and half a glass of white wine the other night because it smelled amazing (and tasted great).

Both times though I could feel it going to my head within a couple of sips, which I really didn't enjoy, and then washed it down with 500ml of soft drink to assuage guilt by watering it down.

I honestly don't miss drinking, I actually rather like the lack of headaches etc caused by inadvertant mild alcohol dehydration. But I have enjoyed a couple of mouthfuls here and there. Any more than that and the guilt would be too extreme.

CaseyShraeger Mon 04-Feb-13 14:17:44

I drank nothing in the first trimester, and a maximum of a glass a week (but most weeks nothing -- generally it would be one glass if we went out for a special occasion) after that.

There are much better alcohol-free beers around than there used to be (that came on a huge amount just between my first and second pregnancies) which helped with not missing drinking.

bogwoppitinatree Mon 04-Feb-13 20:34:35

I have had bits and pieces. On Saturday it was a friend's birthday and I had two halves of nice ale. Haven't done more than a pint in an evening and leaving a good long rest in between each occassion.

ElliesWellies Mon 04-Feb-13 21:05:01

I have the odd glass of wine. I have never heard of any evidence that shows that the odd drink does any harm. Women have been doing it for generations without a problem. Totally up to the individual though - anyone more comfortable without alcohol, I think... it's better to feel happy about your choices, whatever they are. Worry probably does you no good.

MorganLeFey Mon 04-Feb-13 21:26:04

I'm not drinking at all - currently 24/40.

It was a bit weird at Housewarming/Christmas/New Year's etc. but I figured it just wouldn't be that big a deal to avoid completely & then avoid any worry - enough other things to worry about & this is one I do have control over!!!

Rache1S Mon 04-Feb-13 21:42:15

For me it is the case of the great unknown. Controlled comprehensive research has not and will never be done on this simply because pregnant women will not willingly participate in clinical studies trying to find potential harm (or rule it out) so it largely remains an unknown entity.

For me personally, the unknown is enough to make me lay off it, but each to their own and it is for individuals to make their own decisions.

nickelbabe Mon 04-Feb-13 21:48:17

I think a little does no harm.

when I say a little I mean one or two units a week.

so half a can of lager twice a week or a small (125ml) glass of wine on a Saturday night.
I wouldn't have drunk more than one unit at a time (in one day)

I think I had a small drink every 3 or 4 days.

Springforward Mon 04-Feb-13 22:16:29

I choose not to, mainly because I drank in the very early weeks before I knew I was pregnant with both DS and this current pregnancy and feel guilty about it, so not drinking is OK with me and I'd cut down a lot while TTC anyhow.

However... a couple of weeks ago I had a small bleed and had to pop into the labour ward for a quick check over. The MW said in passing that it had been a long day (she wasn't being unprofessional - I happened to know her and she was chatting!) and that she was looking forward to a nice glass of wine at home that night. I said something like, "sounds lovely - only 20 weeks to go, 17 if I'm lucky!", and she said that if I did want a glass of wine, have one, just make it small and not very often. She reckoned that the guideline was set in the absence of a firm dose-response relationship, and so really it was all a bit unknown, but that the real worry was heavier and more frequent drinking.

Didn't change my mind TBH, but nice to know that I could have a small glass of wine if I really wanted one, or on a special occasion.

hatgirl Mon 04-Feb-13 22:28:01

is anyone else okay with the idea of an occasional glass of wine during pregnancy but have a DH/DP (or other random family members) who is absolutely not okay with you doing it? How do you deal with it?

I make zero judgements about people who choose to have an odd drink in pregnancy - at the end of the day it's their body and their baby and just as all pregnancies are different, so is what our bodies are capable of handling.

Personally not touched a drop since BFP, but this is because I've had multiple miscarriages in the past, and if anything should have gone wrong this time, I would feel much better knowing I'd done everything possible to keep baby safe. But that's me and my fears more than anything else.

orangetickle Tue 05-Feb-13 00:51:24

hatgirl we were recently out for DH's birthday with his parents, and the waiter gave all four of us wine glasses, and began to pour. My MIL put her hand over my glass and told the waiter I wasn't drinking (we hadn't discussed it).

I nearly ordered a triple vodka and a straw... Made me so so angry.

Admittedly I didn't drink during my first pregnancy, but still - it felt like a real violation - like her taking control over my body. Worse than if she'd ordered my food for me, since there was an unspoken moral judgement attached to it: it would have been a huge statement for me to turn around to the waiter and say that yes, actually, I'd quite like a glass of wine.

So no real advice, just an acknowledgement that it can be hard.

boxoftricks Tue 05-Feb-13 00:57:08

Guinness is NOT full of iron. Yes it contains a small amount of iron, but so does most beer. It is not jam packed.

I have had a couple of drinks after 20 weeks. I was very sick upto 18 weeks so couldn't if I'd wanted to.
I won't drink spirits, but have had the odd glass or sip of wine, and a couple of glasses of bubbly on my bday. I make sure to drink plenty of water too. I won't just have a glass of wine because DH is, but if we are having a special meal in or out I might. I might have a cold beer/shandy if we get a nice spring and we start getting out into the garden.

The weekend before I got my (v. unexpected) BFP I'd been absolutely hammered. I felt so disgustingly guilty that I didn't touch a drop until DD was about 6 months old.
I really wouldn't. It's, what, 9 months? It's not hard.

I've not touched any, and won't. Guidelines or no guidelines logic tells me that ingesting something that is a toxin is not a good idea when pregnant. It isn't for very long so is no great hardship.

I actually miss things like migralieve more tbh. Not having a drink is no biggie, but not being able to take something to stall a migraine is tough!

ledkr Tue 05-Feb-13 07:28:50

I went on a neuroscience course with work recently. Having had a few wines during all five of my pg I'd definitely not do it again since seeing the research.

JollyRedGiant Tue 05-Feb-13 07:34:42

Badgers, I did the same the week before my bfp. I don't often get hammered but I was really really drunk that night.

Since, I had a couple of units on Christmas day but that is all smile and that was more because we hadn't yet told my parents and didn't want to raise suspicions.

I'll probably have a couple of shandies nearer the end of pregnancy but will avoid at the momoment

shineypeacock Tue 05-Feb-13 07:46:35

Im 15 weeks today, and had my first drink this weekend, a pint of lager shandy on Saturday and a glass of champagne on Sunday.

I saw my mw in NYE at 10 weeks and she said a glass of champagne that night would be fine, i didnt want to drink until after 12 weeks however.

Very strange feeling drinking the shandy, i got a beer glow almost instantly!! But it was lovely!!

Im of the opinion its each to there own and if you want to have 1-2 units then do it!

ScubaSarah Tue 05-Feb-13 08:06:34

I didn't drink at all for first 8 weeks then have had a glass of wine or half pint 2/3 times a week at most. I drank 3/4 units or more pretty much every night before BFP. midwife basically said the above was absolutely fine and baby only gets what my liver doesn't process so 1 unit should be fine. Like someone else said most of the FAS studies are on hardcore drinkers not occasional wine slurpers. My Mum was sh1tfaced on homebrew and brandy when she went into labour with me - swears by it for pain relief winkshock
I worry far more about Aspartame and other nasties tbh - not had a diet drink since TTC!

GirlOutNumbered Tue 05-Feb-13 08:15:13

I never fancied it and havent gone back to 'drinking' since DS1 was born nearly three years ago. It just makes me feel hot and uncomfortable. I'm not too sad though, as I would have classed myself as a binge drinker, so I feel much more healthy these days!

378 Tue 05-Feb-13 14:10:22

Never drank in the 'two week wait' and haven't drunk at all in any of my pregnancies - just not worth any potential risk, in my own opinion.

mumnosbest Tue 05-Feb-13 14:15:46

With dc3 i used to have 2 half glasses of wine topped up with lemonade (tasted toi strong on its own. Did this most weekends. I also have the occasional glass now whilst bf. Dd is 1 and absolutely fine.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 05-Feb-13 14:20:31

Haven't read the whole thread so sorry if I'm repeating. Te current device is not to drink any alcohol for the first 3 months and after that, if you choose to drink, no more than 1 or 2 units once or twice a week. Have a look here.

And yes, I have drunk alcohol bith times but not exceeded the current guidelines.

HenD19 Tue 05-Feb-13 14:20:40

I have a small glass of wine most nights whilst cooking and eating dinner. Do sometimes feel a bit guilty but did the same with my other 2dc and they're fine so don't stress about it too much.....

HenD19 Tue 05-Feb-13 14:21:18

Didn't drink anything in first trimester though as the thought made me feel sick

nickelbabe Tue 05-Feb-13 14:30:20

yy Hen - me too!
I couldn't drink while I had morning sickness (although, lucky me never actually vomitted grin) - the idea of alcohol just made me feel very queasy indeed.

atrcts Tue 05-Feb-13 15:45:26

The recommendation with my first baby was 1 or 2 units a week - that's just ONE glass of wine!

Since then new research shows it is not as safe as they'd hoped and so the new recommendation is to abstain altogether.

Having a glass every night is up to 2 units EVERY DAY. In 7 days that's your entire WHO recommended intake, and doesn't allow for any reduction because of a pregnancy.

But as with all things considered to be a risk to health, some people seem to get away with it. Others dont. Smoking 60 a day while pregnant springs to mind Just because you it away with it in you your first pregnancy doesn't automatically mean you will with your second.

Personally, and i say this with kindness, if I couldn't reduce my alcohol consumption for the sake of the unborn child, I'd have to ask myself if there was a reason for that. blush I don't wish to sound harsh, because I am not, just offering gentle honesty in answer to your question.

atrcts Tue 05-Feb-13 15:48:15

Pa - I acknowledge that your plan in this pregnancy is to drink much less than the last one though wink

Ragwort Tue 05-Feb-13 15:52:00

I had no idea I was pregnant until I was 10 weeks grin - was not 'trying' and rather assumed I was going through the menopause (right age!) so I was drinking 'normally' (2-3 units most night) for me. I then genuinely went off the taste of alcohol for the next 2-3 months but then would have a glass of wine most evenings with dinner, and continued when I was breastfeeding.

My DM-I-L was a midwife in the 1960s and happily smoked and drank gin throughout her two pregnancies grin.

hatgirl - no idea how you deal with that (drink in secret wink)

Beamae Tue 05-Feb-13 16:02:39

I love a big glass of ice cold white wine. And certainly, pregnancy has never put me off the thought of drinking. Having said that, the tiny amount I'd be allowed to have to stay within the safe number of units is so disappointingly minuscule that I might as well have none at all!

DanniiH Tue 05-Feb-13 18:58:57

Hi Atrcts,

Thanks for your comment and yes I am abstaining this time aside from the odd glass on a weekend and it's not very difficult at all. Just a bit of a habit for me I guess but not a difficult one to break. x

CrumbyCrumbs Tue 05-Feb-13 19:09:46

I, personally, don't see the point in having a single glass of wine, but that's because I was a fairly heavy wine drinker before getting pg and therefore it just seems pointless to me to have one drink. I had a tiny bit of champagne (literally an inch in the bottom of a glass) to toast the new year, and I'm now 24 weeks and haven't touched a drop apart from that.

It is definately personal choice, I just don't see any reason to have a drink in pregnancy - it is only 9 months of your whole life at the end of the day!

twinmummy1234 Tue 05-Feb-13 21:16:36

the fact is if you drink then the alcohol in your blood passes freely through the placenta into the developing baby’s blood. Because the baby does not have a fully developed liver, it cannot filter out the toxins from the alcohol as an adult can. Instead, she alcohol circulates in the baby’s blood system. It can destroy brain cells and damage the nervous system of the baby at any point during the nine months of pregnancy.

You wont give your new born baby a glass of wine would you??? its not worth it . no alchohol no risk of fas

Twin, actually it's only the alcohol your system doesn't process that goes through to placenta hence why they suggest 1-2 units max as most healthy adult livers will process and not pass that on. It's about individual choice, not judgement. Thank you.

Mawgatron Wed 06-Feb-13 06:36:25

My friendship group regularly meets for a drink on a Friday or Saturday night, so I have been allowing myself 1 small glass of wine each week.

Occasionally (if I haven't been to the pub) if we are going to someone's house where more drinking is involved, I will treat myself to 2 bottles of sainsburys low alcohol cider, which is only half a unit per bottle, and makes me feel like I am drinking like everyone else. And it's yummy!

I have done this all the way through- the way I see it, a lot of women don't even know they are pregnant and drink A LOT in there first trimester, whereas I knew pretty much immediately so have been restrained all the way through.

Mawgatron Wed 06-Feb-13 06:41:53

Oh, and careful twin. You are sounding very patronising. Your personal choice isn't right for everyone. No judgements, remember?

FellatioNels0n Wed 06-Feb-13 06:47:02

I did with all of mine, but very much in moderation. By moderation I mean a glass of wine with dinner most evenings. probably not moderation in many people's eyes My youngest is 13. It wasn't an especially big deal then. I still do not believe it is as much of a no-no as the HCPs would have you believe, I just don't think they trust the general public with the intelligence not to down half a bottle of vodka a night.

FellatioNels0n Wed 06-Feb-13 06:48:19

Actually I say a glass of wine most evenings but in all honesty I can't remember what I drank. It was quite possibly a good deal less than that, but I know I felt no need to give up entirely. I probably did cut down a lot though.

sunnysunnyshine Wed 06-Feb-13 08:00:25

I've been drinking quite a lot more in this pregnancy than my first - the odd glass of wine during the week and sometimes a couple on a Friday or Saturday night. I'm not proud of it but I'm grieving for my brother and if it helps me get through a truly shitty time, then so be it.

I've read a lot of research - European reports say moderate drinking is ok, especially if your body is used to drinking regularly. It's just about using your common sense and obviously not downing a bottle of wine or 5 pints.

I know I'll probably get a flaming for this but I don't think anyone should judge anyone else. It's up to individual choice.

Just like you can decide whether or not to eat Brie, smoked salmon, soft eggs etc...

MrsPennyapple Wed 06-Feb-13 08:34:13

I was surprised when the mw at my booking in appointment put on a stern voice and said "you how it has to be zero alcohol now, don't you?" I said yes, although I know the actual guidelines are 1 - 2 units once or twice a week. In my first pregnancy I didn't find out until after the first trimester. I had a very boozy Christmas and New Year, which I wouldn't have if I'd known, but didn't see the point stopping completely after that.

I also agree with Scuba that there are other, more concerning substances to worry about.

MrsPennyapple Wed 06-Feb-13 08:36:52

Just read that back - to clarify, I am pg again now, Will continue to drink a glass or two a week.

IWorshipSatin Wed 06-Feb-13 09:46:42

OK I may as well be honest.

In my first pregnancy I avoided in first trimester but after that I relaxed about it and had a couple of drinks per week (I craved Magners throughout my pregnancy). I found that afterwards, if I happened to mention that I hadn't really drunk much, people acted surprised as if I had been over-cautious. One friend told me she drank every night "but only got properly drunk 3 times whilst I was pregnant"!! Despite the drinks I did have, my DD is a healthy and bright little thing well ahead of the curve at the moment.

I'm now on my second pregnancy and I do have a drink when I fancy it - often it's just a tiny amount of wine in the bottom of a glass that I will make last all night. I'm quite envious of people who go off alcohol completely, that's never happened to me.

We've both cut down dramatically since pre-children. Time was that we could easily sink 2 bottles of wine in a night between us shock.

LeBFG Wed 06-Feb-13 10:16:38

There are a couple of misunderstandings in these posts. The body doesn't magically send the alcohol direct to your liver - it circulates in the blood first and goes to the placenta. With time, the alcohol is processed as it passes through the liver. When you bf, your blood alcohol level is the same as in the milk your baby drinks. The same goes for the blood in your unborn baby.

The second thing is the NICE or NHS aren't suggesting we all drink 1/2u 1/2 week - the guidelines say we should abstain and if we can't this level of drinking has not been proven to cause damage. There is a lot of unknowns and recent research has indeed shown a small effect (NOT fas or anything close) on babies' IQ in some women who drink to the guidelines.

I just feel women should be properly informed of this before deciding to drink or not. It doesn't help if the information is only half-understood.

CrumbyCrumbs Wed 06-Feb-13 11:03:39

MrsPenny actually, the guidelines are NO alcohol what so ever. I find it slightly amusing that when given advice by your midwife you then say "but I know different"erm, no, you don't know better than a midwife.

Personal choice or not (and yes I will probably get flamed) but I find it ridiculous that people can't spend 9 months of their life not drinking, for the sake of the health of their unborn child. The reason the safety of alcohol is so unclear is because there is no way they will ever test it on a pregnant woman it's unethical.

weegiemum Wed 06-Feb-13 11:08:40

My dc are 9,11,13 and when I was pg it was 1-2 units once or twice a week. They seem to be ok?

weegiemum Wed 06-Feb-13 11:10:19

And my fil is a national expert on fas, and he said it was ok!

CrumbyCrumbs Wed 06-Feb-13 11:13:33

Its like the whole "My grandad smoked since he was 11 and never got lung cancer" it's a pot luck, and is your babus health really worth that lottery? It's my 21st in 2 weeks, I will be 27 weeks pg and I won't be drinking! It's only 9 months its not the end of the world!

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 06-Feb-13 11:22:06

Just to clarify, the guidelines are here.

As stated before, its no alcohol for the first 3 months and then, should you choose to drink, no more than on or two units once or twice a week.

I think there is some confusion on the thread about what the guidelines actually are smile

CrumbyCrumbs Wed 06-Feb-13 11:45:07

JiltedJohnsJulie Yes, so 'to clarify', you should not drink any alcohol in pregnancy, however if you are going to choose to put your unborn baby at risk, then you should minimise that risk by only drinking 1-2 units once or twice a week.

If you can't abstain from alcohol for 9 months for the sake of your unborn child, then perhaps you should be considering why you are having a child in the first place. That is meant with the least offence possible but, as someone who drank fairly heavily before trying for a baby, I would rather know that my baby is 100% not being exposed to alcohol than risk drinking just a little bit because I am too selfish to abstain for 9 months!

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 06-Feb-13 11:52:46

I love knowing what the risks actually are so if you could link to the research, I'd be really grateful.

Some risks are just theoretical however. For instance I really wanted sushi but the advice was not to have it because of a risk of listeria, so I read up on it and found there was not a single case worldwide of a baby being affected with listeria through sushi so I took the risk.

Bue Wed 06-Feb-13 12:04:14

But if there was any proper evidence that light drinking is harmful, the guidelines really would be "no alcohol", just as the guidelines state no smoking. The fact that it is qualified by 1/2u 1/2w tells me that the powers that be realise the risk really isn't there at a low level.

Jilted the NHS says sushi is perfectly fine, so long as the fish is frozen first (which it all is if served in a restaurant or bought in a shop). See here: www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/is-it-safe-to-eat-sushi-during-pregnancy.aspx Also the risk from sushi isn't listeria, it's little worms called anasakids that can give you food poisoning - but are destroyed by freezing.

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 06-Feb-13 12:23:11

It was 5 years since I was pregnant so my memory on the sushi thing and the guidelines have probably changed, thanks for clarifying. I don't want anyone not eating sushi because of me blushsmile

I think the same as you on alcohol. If there was good evidence they would recommend a blanket ban.

crumb I try to be honest on Mn and address people in a similar way as I would in RL. I appreciate that you feel strongly on this subject but feel that lots of people like to know why before doing something, for instance what the risks are before cutting out alcohol in pg.

And as for questioning why I had children because I had about 3 glasses of wine in my entire pg is a bit grin

ladymia Wed 06-Feb-13 12:23:22

People that are drinking their 2 units a week, are you actually sticking to the units? If a 125ml glass of wine (tiny amount!) is 1.5 units and you are only allowed 1-2 units once or twice a week?

I know someone that stuck to the 2 units a week except her units were 250ml glasses twice a week. So that's actually 6 units a week.

Makes me wonder what people think are "a unit"

Luckily what others choose to drink or not drink does not actually affect me so I don't feel the need to judge them. It's just a genuine question.

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 06-Feb-13 12:28:01

lady that's a good question and partly why I posted the link to the guidelines as they also go in to explain what a unit actually is smile.

The size of the wine glasses we all have at home seems to have really increased over the last 10 years and people's perception of what actually is a unit can be skewed. My friend has a glass that holds half a bottle, luckily she's not pg grin

ladymia Wed 06-Feb-13 12:33:22

1 unit = a thimble grin

CrumbyCrumbs Wed 06-Feb-13 12:43:06

JiltenJohnsJulie Nooo the bit about why you are having children wasn't aimed at you! It was aimed at people who feel they have to have a glass of wine a week or they will explode! I didn't mean you at all smile It's quite difficult to get across what you mean in places like this smile

I just find it incredible that someone blessed with pregnancy would do something that puts their unborn child at risk. Then again, I don't think I will ever understand the mindset of some people...

"Yes, so 'to clarify', you should not drink any alcohol in pregnancy, however if you are going to choose to put your unborn baby at risk, then you should minimise that risk by only drinking 1-2 units once or twice a week. "
Wow - judge much!?!

I thought MN was there for support and conversation not outrageous judgement. But clearly I was wrong - too many threads on here end up with some self-righteous twonk ruining a perfectly good conversation sad Having a small glass of wine a couple of times a week isn't sign of a 'problem' as some seem to suggest, but rather a considered and balanced approach to pregnancy.

My midwife was really clear with me, only 6 weeks ago: 1-2 units once or twice a week is considered FINE. As with ALL thing in pregnancy it's about a balance of risks and there is NO evidence stating that alcohol consumption at that level causes any issue. They just can't prove the reverse (ie no concrete and irrefutable evidence that it's entirely safe either) or what the 'hard' limit may be.

Aspartame has been proven to have fairly severe impacts on health but I don't see people getting flamed for drinking diet drinks.

Good luck to all you PG ladies out there, savour the few small drinks you do allow yourselves (if that's what you chose to do) and don't be bullied or guilted by scare-mongers and judgmental eedjits.

CrumbyCrumbs Wed 06-Feb-13 12:51:12

So, you're allowed to disagree with my opinion and judge me, and flame me, but when it's the other way round it is wrong? I think we have a hypocrit in our midst ladies!

I already said in my first post that I just didn't see the point in having one drink, and there are people who are clearly having a "lot" more than 1-2 units. Someone before said they had a glass of wine with dinner every night - that is not 1-2 units once or twice a week!!

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 06-Feb-13 12:53:14

grin at lady. Would have trouble sticking to 2 units now but not pg so that's ok smile

crumb no worries, it was probably me being over sensitive (as usual) and misreading your post. It can be really hard to get across what you actually mean on here can't it and I've had things taken the wrong way more than once, so really don't worry about it smile

ladymia Wed 06-Feb-13 12:53:42

Oh dear RememberingMyPFEs, you know you have lost a debate when you resort to name calling.

This is an emotive subject, it will always be. There is judgement from both sides it seems, people that drink are judged and those that don't are obviously not able to have a "balanced approach to pregnancy"

You really can't win!

As I have said before, I am glad what others do doesn't affect me and because of that i am 100% non judgemental on this subject. I weighed up the risk vs. benefit and will not drink during pregnancy, not even one unit. I am sure I am seen as an extra careful fool by some but I am perfectly fine with my decision.

CrumbyCrumbs Wed 06-Feb-13 12:59:01

ladymia Exactly - I was only voicing why I personally don't choose to drink during my pregnancy - it probably came across the wrong way though as a couple of people seem to think it was specifically aimed at them!

Not understanding why others would do something is a bit different to calling names RememberingMyPFEs...

JiltedJohnsJulie Glad we sorted that lol, I didn't mean to cause offense to you smile

Some people clearly shouldn't be on a post labelled "*Controversial*" as they don't seem to be able to debate without calling names and lashing out. Everyone has differing opinions on matters like this. I am on my first pregnancy and that is probably why I am being so over cautious about things like alcoho - who knows, in my next pregnancies I may too be the one saying that I am having a small glass of wine at the weekend smile

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy Wed 06-Feb-13 13:01:50

I think the principal rationale behind the 'no alcohol at all' advice is that nobody knows precisely how what amount of alcohol will affect any individual woman/foetus. There are so many factors that could come into play. Plus there is the aspect that someone raised about what exactly is a 'unit'.

I avoided alcohol completely until roughly 20 weeks with my two (except for a quarter of a glass of champagne on my 30th birthday, when I was 12 weeks with no. 2), and then had a very small glass of wine every 2 or 3 weeks. That level of consumption seemed to me to be one I could be confident beyond reasonable doubt wouldn't affect my baby. And that's the key: I felt comfortable with it. Some will make a reasonable judgement that more is OK, some will prefer not to drink altogether. I think that possibly a good rule to go by is that in pregnancy alcohol should be the 'exception' rather than the 'rule' - so I would feel uncomfortable with the 'most nights' stated in the OP - and never taken far enough to induce actual drunkenness.

LeBFG Wed 06-Feb-13 13:04:36

Here is a little summary of the paper about light/moderate drinking and baby IQ. It is only one study and it was recently published. I live in France where the advice is ZERO alcohol. The NHS advice is given because, when they drew up the guidelines, there was no proof of harm - no proof isn't the same thing as no harm however and the new research shows some women are much more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol. Do you want to wait until the guidelines are updated?

Posters have already pointed out risks and assessing whether they should take them. I personally think it crazy that people won't give babies honey or eat pate when they eat pre-prepared sandwiches and drink a couple of small glasses of wine a week whilst pg.

crumbs I didn't accuse you of name calling. I did suggest you were coming off as judgmental.
I can't be arsed with this thread any more - I'm neither hypocritical nor judgemental but I do feel people come under fire and are accused of "putting their unborn child at risk" for very little reason - like women don't give themselves a hard enough time in the first place.
Have a nice day!

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 06-Feb-13 13:05:37

lady again that's exactly how I look on it too, I weighed up the risks and made my own decision and wasn't really concerned with what others do. Normally I'm over cautious with everything pg, baby and Child but did have a couple of drinks both times in pg smile

Just in case anyone was thinking of bfing and was wondering if alcohol is ok it's fine in moderation, see here

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 06-Feb-13 13:16:32

Interesting article, thank you leBfg. I'd be interested in reading this in more detail if you have the links smile

LeBFG Wed 06-Feb-13 13:20:41

Are we reading the same webpage Julie? The Kellymom link gives a summary of different results - 1+ drink a day is moderate drinking in my book and has been associated with a decrease in gross motor development. Plus co-sleeping + drinking has been shown as a SIDS risk factor, not something easy to measure physiologically.

CrumbyCrumbs Wed 06-Feb-13 13:21:20

RememberingMyPFEs Hate to burst your bubble, but the people one about name calling were referring to you... ("judgmental eedjits" springs to mind...!!)

LeBFG Thanks for the article link, looks interesting! I'd also be interested in reading this in more detail if you have any links?

LeBFG Wed 06-Feb-13 13:30:56

Julie and Crumbs: here is the paper - it has also been extensively debated on MN when it first came out.

The same old arguments come out of the bag - one of which is the 'oh, give us a break, we don't eat/drink x, y, z, but surely we can have a drink once a week?'. As I said, some people get wound up over the most insignificant risks, yet will have their glass of wine. I'm not being judgemental - I chose to drink in my last pg and, in light of the research above, I've chosen not to drink in this one - I just like pointing out inconsistencies <irritating bugger>.

MrsPennyapple Wed 06-Feb-13 13:33:13

MrsPenny actually, the guidelines are NO alcohol what so ever. I find it slightly amusing that when given advice by your midwife you then say "but I know different"erm, no, you don't know better than a midwife.

Yes, I did think your comment was directed at me Crumby chuckle away if you're so amused, I couldn't give a toss what you think.

MrsPennyapple Wed 06-Feb-13 13:37:59

Oh, and FWIW, it was my GP who told me that 1-2 units once or twice a week was fine. I'll leave it to you to decide who knows more, between a GP and a midwife, seeing as you're apparently qualified to decide.

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 06-Feb-13 13:43:43

Thanks leBFG. I didn't see it debated when it was printed and like you, after reading I think I would avoid alcohol if I were pg now.

Perhaps the people who get worked up over pâté but drink the odd glass of wine have missed the paper?

CrumbyCrumbs Wed 06-Feb-13 13:48:07

MrsPennyapple Oh yeah, because I said I was qualified to decide, I actually said that you don't know better than a midwife, when did I say I knew better...?! The way you said it, it sounded like you literally dismissed the midwife's advice. So before you jump down someone's throat, explain yourself properly, don't give half a story and stop being so defensive. You never once said anything about your GP saying about the 1-2 units, you said you knew for a fact.

LeBFG Thanks for that - much appreciated, off to have a read - canot be bothered with people who don't know how to have a civilised debate without getting on their high horse and going off on one.

MrsPennyapple Wed 06-Feb-13 13:52:28

Bye then.

There is no evidence that moderate drinking causes harm. None. If it did, we would all be defective or dead because for centuries everyone drank alcohol on a daily basis.

Do what feels right for you. And do bear in mind that a lot of the scaremongering about diet/drinking/lifestyle in pregnancy has nothing at all to do with fetal health and is about controlling women's behaviour.

Finally, no matter what you do, or don't do, during pregnancy, you are not guaranteed a healthy baby who will grow up into a healthy adult. There are all sorts of random factors at play, every minute of every day, so make what choices suit you, and best of luck.

LeBFG Wed 06-Feb-13 14:43:22

Thanks for illustrating the second thread of arguments that gets pulled out of the bag when this topic gets debated SGB. I refuse to believe health professionals and scientists are all part of this misogny against pregnant women - if men were the sex to get pregnant it would be the same because as a society were care about the health of our unborn children. A lot of what women do during pregnant does have an effect on the fetus and women should be presented with the unbiased facts about this.

However, I do very much agree with your last sentence.

higgle Wed 06-Feb-13 14:48:41

Nature kindly gave me an aversion to alcohol ( and swedes and coffee ) from what was probably day 1 of each pregnancy.

fatfloosie Wed 06-Feb-13 14:54:31

Well DD was an accident and I have irregular periods so I only noticed I was pregnant about 8 weeks in when I started to feel sick when we were only on the second bottle of wine. Three bottles an evening was quite normal for us at that point shock. So yes I drank loads in the first trimester.

For the rest of the pregnancy, when DP was having some beer he used to say 'would you like a glass of babykiller' and I'd have one glass in the smallest wine glass we owned (and it was very small).

DD has some mottled port wine stains - luckily covered by underwear - but is otherwise fine (I do sometimes wonder if these are due to the early weeks baptism in alcohol). Gross and fine motor skills have always been fantastic and I think she has a pretty high IQ.

I didn't and don't lose any sleep over it. She's my little miracle and she's only here because of the booze and because I thought it was a bit ridiculous to go screeching to the chemists for a morning after pill at the probably-not-very-fertile-anymore age of 39.

wanderingcloud Wed 06-Feb-13 14:59:28

Fwiw I didn't know I was pregnant until 11weeks with DS1. In that time I'd had a big birthday bash and my DH lost his job so we had more than a few nights sharing a bottle of whisky and raging at the gross injustice of it. I stopped drinking when I found out but by then the damage was already done iyswim so I did have a couple of tiny guilt ridden sips of DH wine over the course of the rest of my pregnancy. DS was and is absolutely fine and met all his milestones well ahead of time. I can't imagine him being any brighter or more amazing than he already is.grin

Second time around I knew much earlier I was pregnant and I've followed the guidance e.g. nothing in the first trimester and the very occasional glass since. I have found I can't manage a full glass now anyway. It's an individual choice and if you don't want to drink then don't but if you do then it's no one else's business!

Rikalaily Wed 06-Feb-13 15:01:05

I rarely drink, maybe once every 3-6 months and then it's usually a bottle of beer or a half glass of wine topped up with lemonade. When I'm pregnant I'll have one if I feel like it. I don't think the odd one here and there will do any harm but I think drinking daily could cause problems, there are a couple of units in a glass of wine and drinking that daily adds up by the end of the week.

When I was pregnant with no.4 I went to a baby shower, I took two bottles of beer with me (drank them over a few hours and it was the only time I've had 2 drinks when pregnant) and the looks I got! I was a few weeks away from giving birth and they were the only drinks I'd had right the way through, you'd have thought I was sat there swigging from a bottle of vodka, lol.

Bue Wed 06-Feb-13 15:20:45

fatfloosie you can be confident that there is no link between alcohol and port wine stains smile Excessive alcohol in the early weeks can cause problems, as we know, but that definitely isn't one of them!

slatternlymother Wed 06-Feb-13 15:30:57

I chose not to, because I don't need it. I don't need to drink wine to be able to relax, and I didn't feel it did me any harm to stop for a while.

I think it'd actually do a lot of people a lot of good to abstain for a while; why not?

slatternlymother Wed 06-Feb-13 15:34:04

And by a lot of good, I actually mean the realisation that you realise that if you can give up alcohol for a bit, you can probably give up other things too.

It gave me the realisation (post DS) that I gave up wine for 9 months, so surely I would be able to give up sugary/processed foods. It made me feel quite strong, actually smile

I have had HG in all 3 pgs so I've been more or less booze free right through til third tri because idea of drinking absolutely turns my stomach (13+5 at the min!).

After I felt more like it, yes I would have occasional beer or glass of wine or Sainsburys sell this amazing low alcohol cider that's only one unit for a bloody big pint bottle you can pour over ice and drink like Magners if you're at a barbecue or something.

I don't think I'd drink spirits, and I prob wouldn't go beyond one small glass of wine or one lower alcohol beer / cider in a session tho and i'd probably only do it once a fortnight, but that's just me. As other posters have said you can do everything completely by the book and unfortunately it doesn't guarantee you a healthy baby so you have to do what feels right to you.

BoffinMum Wed 06-Feb-13 16:18:48

The odd glass of wine won't cause a problem, say 150ml a week. Otherwise all countries would be giving out identical advice, and they don't. Much of this stuff is culturally bound, and some aimed at developing a public health stance via indoctrinating apparently impressionable women, rather than based on definitive science. Also it is about assessing levels of risk. I haven't looked it up, but I would imagine a pg woman is statistically more likely to harm her baby by allowing it to travel in a car than by imbibing 1 glass of wine a week. But we like cars, and we think wine is induglent and vaguely sinful.

LeBFG: That's why some scientists say that a few drinks won't do any harm. However, there are various pressure groups and vested interests who basically do hate women and wish to see them controlled and given fewer human rights than men; these love to jump on any small survey or bit of research that's still at a very exploratory stage. If you look at some of the stuff coming out of the US at the moment, where there are these absolutely foaming misogynists who probably shouldn't be allowed out without muzzles and leads, coming up with genuinely insane and completely incorrect theories about women's bodies, you might see it a bit differently.

Only about a generation ago, a pregnant woman was encouraged to drink stout (for the iron) and red wine (to encourage the milk supply) and at one point ISTR in the 60s a couple of drinks a day was regarded as a healthy way to avoid premature labour.

Mixxy Wed 06-Feb-13 16:46:53

I did everything arseways. Didn't find out I was pregnant until 7 weeks. Drank heavily before then (very normal for me) went on a 3 week boozy holiday, went to a friends wedding and attended a 3 day Irish funeral. Obviously never touched a drop of alcohol after the test result. Im 38 + 3 now and have ruined the pregnancy because I'm so worried about FAS. Nothing has been able to calm me down about what I might have done to the baby.

My sister on the other hand, planned both her pregnancies so didn't have a drop of alcohol in the first trimesters and then would have maybe 2 glasses of wine a month at dinners or a small beer at BBQs etc. Both her children are perfectly healthy.

Cross your fingers for mine.

CrumbyCrumbs Wed 06-Feb-13 16:48:29

Are you honestly saying that the reason pregnant women are advised not to drink is because people hate women and want to control then and give them less human rights than men? I've heard it all now! Yes, all information about drinking, smoking and eating unhealthy whilst pregnant is aimed at women. And do you know why? Sit down this might astonish you.. Men can't get pregnant! I mean, sure, the NHS could start handing out leaflets to men telling them how much to drink when pregnant, but seeing as they can't get pregnant in the first place..

So what about these studies and statistics linked to men drinking and it reducing their sperm count? Is that to control men and take away their rights? No, it's to protect their health. Just as the guidelines for pregnant women regarding alcohol are to protect their unborn child. Not take away their blooming human rights!!
No one is saying that a glass of wine or a bottle of beer is going to kill your baby. What people are saying is that you should just be careful as 9 months isn't really a long time to abstain from alcohol at the end of the day.

CrumbyCrumbs Wed 06-Feb-13 16:51:45

And SolidGoldBrass that's like saying that smoking used to be regarded as healthy... You cannot compare today's guidelines with what happened 40 years ago. And the reason we are no longer told to drink stout is becase it contains a minimal amount of iron, and after scientific research they found it does more harm than good. And a couple of drinks aday could cause FAS. But I suppose us pregnant women should just stick to how things were done in the 60's right? Whether it harms our babies or not!

Glitterspy Wed 06-Feb-13 17:03:38

I didn't know I was pg for the first 6-7 weeks, until then I did drink and must have been on a couple of nights out (would have drunk a couple of cocktails and a couple of glasses of wine, so a fair amount). Since then I have had a quarter/ half a small glass of red wine with a meal or couple of sips of champagne on special occasions, maybe 5-8 times in total over the remaining months. Certainly haven't ever felt like having more but then, haven't felt bad about it either!

LeBFG Wed 06-Feb-13 17:18:22

Only about a generation ago, a pregnant woman was encouraged to drink stout (for the iron) and red wine (to encourage the milk supply) and at one point ISTR in the 60s a couple of drinks a day was regarded as a healthy way to avoid premature labour. This is exactly why research is done in this area - not to suppress women but to protect unborn children....so we know what'll happen if we drink excessively, take drugs or smoke during pg. There were lots of things we didn't know and little by little, as the research is done, we know more and this empowers women. It gives women the choice. They don't blindly follow guidelines or 'mother says'. They have a genuine choice.

Misinformation is a different thing altogether and my main complaint about pg advice is the ridiculous way in which it is applied. Why oh why are women being told not to eat pate? It really miffs me. I can only say it's H&S gone crazy. FWIW I think we'll see a change in NHS guidelines in the near future wrt alcohol.

SGB: you're right, I've no idea what is going on the US. But I really can't believe researchers and HP are conspiring against women. I really can't.

My point isn't that the drinking stout, etc, is actually right. The point is that when nearly all PG women obeyed that advice, they didn't give birth to generations of 'damaged' babies. It's simply not that big a deal, one way or the other.

As to the 'conspiracy to control women' FFS of course that exists. For centuries, the fact that 'women get pregnant' has been used to justify giving them fewer rights than men.

Dryjuice25 Wed 06-Feb-13 18:32:13

I never touch alcohol when pg. I dont drink apart from my birthdays /or socially anyway

LeBFG Wed 06-Feb-13 19:10:51

Generations of babies were born damaged by poor maternal prenatal care - things women had control over. It's thanks to science that FAS is now so low for example - but there are plenty of other examples. Plus, just talking about 'damaged' babies is just one end of the spectrum - there are many smaller benefits in child health and wellbeing that have been fought for and improved by better prenatal education.

If the patriarchy really wanted to keep women permanently pregnant as you suggest there would be two things observed: very little prenatal education (why put women off being pg?!) and suppression of contraceptive advice. On the later point, I feel we live in an age where all and every female illness is blamed by not being on the pill. So....I still (cordially) don't agree with you SGB smile.

Egusta Wed 06-Feb-13 19:36:26

I am not a big drinker anyway- usually weekends and special occasions when i really do enjoy a drink, but hardly ever otherwise. I did not know i was pg for a good 8 weeks and got blind drunk on one such special occasion when about 4 weeks. Then I treated myself to one 125 ml glass of decent wine on a Sunday throughout my pregnancy. No more than that.

i haemorraghed very badly during birth and was told by my HV and the doctor to drinks lots of Guiness and red wine at lunch and dinner - while breastfeeding. Which i joyfully did. Had no idea that was meant to be a no no either. DS is now 2.6, so this was NOT a long time ago!

Adreamz Wed 06-Feb-13 21:29:29

I had lots of weddings during my first pregnancy so had the champagne to celebrate, this time I'm probably going to have a couple here and there (I'm not a heavy drinker anyway), as I'm in the first trimester and not telling anyone I have to have one if I go out so I'm not questioned :-) xx

ballroompink Wed 06-Feb-13 21:51:28

I drank quite a lot in the two days before I found out I was (four weeks) pregnant, oops. Family parties! I then drank no alcohol until 16 weeks, then pretty much had a glass of wine a week for the rest of the pregnancy. On a handful of (special) occasions I had two glasses of wine. Most times I did this it made me feel very light headed and overheated.

gloucestergirl Wed 06-Feb-13 21:55:41

To answer the OP's original question: I drank a glass of wine a week at snail's pace (the rate at which you drink alcohol is as nearly important as how much you drink). I will hold my hands up and admit I did it to feel normal again. I was working very hard, was in a new city and couldn't be bothered with pregnancy yoga to relax. Give me the pub and a watered down white wine spritzer instead. Actually I would have perferred a lighter work schedule or earlier maternity with full pay, but apparently that was not an option. I will join the leagues of others and say DD is perfectly normal, perfectly intelligent and not one jote of FAS about her. I do think that the guidelines err on the side of caution and, very cynically, I also think it is cheap and satisfying to boss people about.

Louison Wed 06-Feb-13 22:32:22

Basically we shouldn't drink at all during pregnancy, especially during the second trimester due to the brain development during these period.
Scientist don't know from wich quantity of alcohol the baby could be harmed. They have no idea that's why the advice is no alcohol at all when you're pregnant. All we know is that the baby can be harmed by drinking frequently even if it's small quantities. just to remind you, alcohol exposure presents a risk of fetal brain damage at any point during a pregnancy, since brain development is ongoing throughout pregnancy. So avoid it as much as you can !

cluttercluttereverywhere Wed 06-Feb-13 23:01:49

Mixxy, your post could have been written by me a couple of years ago - almost exactly the same situation. DS was born & was absolutely fine, still is. incredibly intelligent for a 20m old even if I do say so myself . My GP told me not to worry about the pre-test booze issue, and that stressing myself would not be good for the baby either, so please try not to worry, honestly.

zcos Wed 06-Feb-13 23:10:17

there is not much research on this but I subscribe to Zoe Williams stance in what NOT to expect when expecting I had the odd glass of wine with a meal or half of real ale ... after week 20.

fromparistoberlin Wed 06-Feb-13 23:38:50

erm i had a small glass of wine most days

sorry! i know others that did too

Zeezee82 Thu 07-Feb-13 01:03:00

I will be 17 weeks on my wedding day and am looking forward to treating myself to 1 glass of champagne. My first drop since a week before we found out

Health problems in newborns are often caused by poverty. Stupid people like to blame this sort of thing on the poor ie they are too thick and lazy and 'selfish' to cook proper meals, ignoring the practical difficulties such as restricted cooking and food storage, the distance a poor person without a car might have to travel to obtain affordable fruit and veg as opposed to the local takeaway or corner shop which offers fishfingers and Pot Noodles and not much else...

Health problems in pregnant women and birth defects in babies are also often down to inadequate maternity care. It's just easier and more politically expedient to label women as lazy, selfish and stupid than to put more state funding into training and employing midwives.

THen there's the whole business of genetics. Some conditions (eg haemophilia, types of breast cancer, muscular dystrophy) are now known to be down to genes rather than infection but, as yet, people who have the problematic genes are not being forbidden to breed - particularly as in nearly all of the problems with genetic components, it's not guaranteed that every baby you concieve will suffer from them.

THe hard-of-thinking and the misogynistic get all obsessive and judgmental about alcohol-in-pregnancy partly out of magical thinking (if I scream loud enough about how eeeevil it is to have a sip of sherry while you are of childbearing age, any babies I breed will be protected from harm because I'm righteous) and partly out of a belief that women are not people but Sacred Vessels of Incubation and therefore should always put their own needs, whims and wishes at the back of the queue.

catladycourtney1 Thu 07-Feb-13 01:37:38

I drank A LOT before I found out I was pregnant, but I was only about three weeks along when I found out so, although there is potential for harm, at least I was able to limit it from that point on (I haven't drunk at all since, but I'm one of those who can't see the point of drinking a little bit - I only drink to get pissed).

I personally think that common sense (and a bit of research if necessary) should prevail in matters such as this. Guinness, red wine and stout do NOT contain anywhere near enough iron or anything else to make them beneficial during pregnancy, for a start, and anyone can (and should, if they're pregnant, really) look this up in a quick internet search before they decide to fill their boots. Also, when we drink alcohol, it is absorbed through the skin in your throat and stomach lining directly into the bloodstream (hence why you can get pissed by pouring vodka into your eye or soaking a tampon in it, if you're feeling so inclined), and obviously from the bloodstream it is passed through the placenta and to your baby. In the early stages of pregnancy, or if you drink a fair amount or very quickly, this can obviously lead to ill effects in your developing baby. Now, if you really feel the need to drink, then in the later stages of pregnancy, one or two units occasionally (which, as someone else mentioned, is just one very small glass of wine) should do no harm - after all, if you had your baby at thirty-odd weeks and (for some reason) gave them the same amount to drink themselves, there would be no lasting ill effects on the baby.

Basically, unless you're going out and getting shitfaced every friday night, I think it's up to you what you do, and I would never think anything of a pregnant woman enjoying a glass of wine on her birthday or half a lager on a summer's night. But I do think carrying a child means you should cut down if you're used to drinking heavily or regularly. I know it's been said already, but it is only nine months, it's not the end of the world.

cafecito Thu 07-Feb-13 02:25:06

The only safe amount of alcohol in pregnancy is NO alcohol

I have an exam in the morning and need to work for it but will come back and post my reasons for saying that tomorrow evening - I'm not saying everyone who drinks will cause harm, but that to avoid the risk of harm from alcohol the only way to completely eliminate the risk is to not drink. There are 9-10 mechanisms by which alcohol can damage the brain of a fetus and another few in terms of causing other cellular damage.

I'm not saying it will cause it - but it can and therefore if you are making a decision about it, why not wait til the 9 months is over to have a drink?

zcos Thu 07-Feb-13 04:56:17

louison your preaching not giving your stance and there is no evidence to back up what your saying!

zcos Thu 07-Feb-13 05:01:09

solid gold here here!
and remember before the alcohol gets to the placenta it is filtered through liver and kidneys!

SamraLee Thu 07-Feb-13 06:59:00

They do make non-alcoholic wine for those of you who wish to enjoy the taste without the alcohol.

I personally didn't and wouldn't have any alcohol during pregnancy, why risk it? I also avoided cooking with it. I also don't drink it when breastfeeding. Just as some women avoid certain foods and others feel they can take the risk, it's all about chance and choice. If you use common sense and natural instincts (most of the time) you'll be all right.

LeBFG Thu 07-Feb-13 07:03:56

FGS zcos, alcohol is a TOXIN. That's what the liver is doing. Eliminating something that can damage us. Babies' livers are extremely poorly developed. We frequently go off alcohol in early pg - this is our bodies protecting our unborn babies.

You live in a bleak world where all those who think we should follow some prenatal guidelines are either 'hard-of-thinking' or 'misogynistic' SGB. I'm a bit disappointed at the sweeping judgments being made by you. Poverty is not the cause of so many postnatal complications, or indeed prenatal ones. THey are frequently linked statistically because, yes, this group is more likely to have poor access to prenatal advice, poor educational attainment and thus not understand the advice and follow it and have poorer hygiene...These factors are much more likely to explain why smoking in pg is still prevalent in the poor, not the simple statement 'because they are poor'.

Maternity care helps to protect unborn babies. As does lots of things a mother herself can do - stop taking drugs, stop smoking, stop drinking, avoiding undercooked meats. No amount of wealth, education or maternity care will stop a baby contracting toxoplasmosis if the mum takes the risk of eating undercooked meats during pg.

CrumbyCrumbs Thu 07-Feb-13 08:11:38

LeBFG here here!! I completely agree with the fact that no amount of prenatal care is going to stop toxoplasmosis if the mother takes the risk of eating undercooked meat!

I think what some people don't understand is that even when something doesn't affect them or their body, it can still be affecting the baby in severe ways!

And I still think it is utterly ridiculous to say that guidelines for pregnant women are there to take away their rights. I read that to my mother and my sister in law and they actually laughed out loud.. I'm all for womens rights but thats just taking the piss!

CrumbyCrumbs Thu 07-Feb-13 08:13:52

Zcos no that is where you are wrong. Only alcohol which the body can't process is taken to the liver, the stuff what your body processes goes straight to the placenta, and juat because your body can process it, that doesn't mean to say your baby's can and that means it has to pass through their tiny, underdeveloped liver.

I've already posted saying I drank a very little bit when I was pg with DS towards end of second tri, occasional small glass of wine or whatever. So I just want to clarify that I really don't have an issue with a pregnant woman having the occasional shandy or whatever.

But for the posters saying they drank 'most days' when they were pg and it didn't do them any harm etc. fetal alcohol syndrome is a real thing. www.mayoclinic.com/health/fetal-alcohol-syndrome/DS00184 I work with teenagers who were affected by alcohol and substance abuse in the womb and as an environmental factor in their childhoods and the impact it has had on their development is marked and it is very sad.

Also it's not just the UK that advises no alcohol consumption during pregnancy, it's also USA and Australia.

So drink in moderation if you want to but don't be swayed by anyone saying its poverty that causes birth defects or that they drank everyday and their kids turned out fine - this is your baby and your body and you have to decide what (if any) is the right amount of alcohol for you while pregnant.

StuntNun Thu 07-Feb-13 09:12:00

Maybe there should be a MN campaign to make it clearer how many units of alcohol are in a drink. I would happily measure out e.g. 110 ml of wine to ensure I was only drinking one unit at a time. I'm currently breastfeeding and have found a few low alcohol real ales that have 1.4 units of alcohol per bottle so I'll happily have one of those and not usually finish the bottle so I know I'm drinking a limited amount. I always wait until after the last feed of the night so I can be confident that no alcohol is going to the baby.

aggadoo Thu 07-Feb-13 09:33:33

I drank over what was the recommended amount (can't remember now but I am sure it was a couple of units a week then). I would say on average I probably drank a glass of wine every other day and had 2 glasses at Xmas and birthday. I avoided it during the first trimester (apart from before realising I was pregnant). I have 3 children - all turned out fine.

LexyMa Thu 07-Feb-13 09:41:05

for all those pointing out that alcohol is a toxin, please consider locating and reading the (very well referenced and thorough) wikipedia pages on vitamins. Folic acid, iron and vit B12, for example - very important for foetal and placental development. Also toxic in high quantities.

The importance of Folic acid was only actually discovered after research which indicated that the yeast in beer was beneficial in pregnancy.

Alcohol comes in many forms. There are various strengths, from different brewing processes, ingredients, artificial additives, impurities. I can't drink lager (pg or not) because the partial fermentation of the yeast disagrees with me. I can drink ale, which has a very simple brewing method and just three natural ingredients (of course some modern brewers put all sorts of extras in) and it is one of the oldest drinks in human civilisation.

Most importantly of all though, I am completely happy with my choices.

Some of you seem unable to comprehend the difference between a risk and a guarantee. If an individual woman decides that she will drink no alcohol at all while TTC and throughout her pregnancy, that's up to her. She's decided that the risk of fetal alcohol damage is one she's not prepared to take.
Another woman might decide that the risk attached to a small amount of alcohol is low enough that she is not going to worry about it. Once again, that is up to her. Plenty of women drink in very early pregnancy because they are not planning or expecting a pregnancy and therefore don't know that they are pregnant; there are often no ill effects.

If a pregnant woman decided to rehome her cats, because she was worried about toxoplasmosis, some people would say she was being sensible, some that she was overreacting (and plenty of cat-obsessed bucketheads would be shitting themselves with rage and calling down curses on her). If she decided to keep the cats and take precautions such as getting her H to deal with the litter tray and the catfood, some would say she was risking her unborn baby's life, others that she was being sensible rather than hysterical.

Because a pregnant woman is not public property, It's up to her what risks she decides are worth taking, and which things she would prefer to avoid. Sames as if she decides she wants to terminate a pregnancy at any point - it;s up to her and no one else.

neriberi Thu 07-Feb-13 10:03:34

I like a good glass of red vino, however I didn't drink when I was TTC or during the first trimester of my pregnancy, when we told everyone the news that I was pregnant I had a small celebratory glass of red wine and it tasted amazing blush after that I allowed myself a small glass of red wine once a week if I wanted it...

MrsMarigold Thu 07-Feb-13 10:43:44

When pregnant I craved sherry, with both my DC. In fact that's how I knew I was pregnant, I drank a bit while pregnant but nothing much.

My DH is quite a heavy drinker and recently I got some information from my doctor and the Drinkaware website, he was shocked - a bottle of wine is on average about 9.6 units!

laward Thu 07-Feb-13 11:25:07

Early in my first pregnancy I filled out a questionaire that amongst other things asked alcohol intake. I wrote down 1-2 units a week, but it was wrongly recorded as 12 units a week.

I didn't notice it in my notes for ages and was mortified to discover it. When I explained this to MW's & Dr's they laughed it off saying that they weren't worried anyway.

amyboo Thu 07-Feb-13 11:35:56

After a miscarriage at 13 weeks and a stillbirth at 36 weeks (with a healthy DS born inbetween) I don't take any risks. Won't touch a drop till DS3 arrives here safely. Then I plan on having a big glass of my favourite Mumm pink champagne :-)

What Solidgoldbrass said.

I chose to drink a glass of wine one or two nights a week through both of my pregnancies. The risk to me was acceptable and very low. I drank the glass with a meal, and it was something nice to look forward to.

That was my attitude to the risk. There were other things I wouldn;t do that some pregant women would do. Up to them. I had my limits and they were no one else's business.

the DoH has to allow for the lowest common denominator ie there will be whose who read 'one or two glasses a week' as 'get pissed every night'. There will also be those who cannot make up their own minds about risk and need a bit of hand holding. The guidance is for them.

ExRatty Thu 07-Feb-13 11:53:53

yes, I drank a glass of red most through all of my pregnancies when i could stomach it
i felt the risk wasn't significant

catladycourtney1 Thu 07-Feb-13 13:15:31

SGB, I agree. As a card-carrying Cat-Obsessed Buckethead, I've had a lot of stick for keeping my cats and continuing to clean their litter trays and bowls, etc (because I lived alone until a few weeks ago and couldn't expect someone to come round and clean up after them every time they shit). I requested an extra blood test for the toxoplasma antibodies at my booking appointment, and it came back positive (meaning I've already been exposed to it and can't catch it again), so to me, rehoming them seemed unnecessary.

With my due date approaching, now I have people telling me that I need to rehome them because of the risk of them climbing in the cot and suffocating my baby. Now, I've read a lot about this and as far as I've seen, there's never been a proven case of this happening, but nonetheless I can see how it might happen, and why you wouldn't want a cat in the baby's cot anyway, so I've taken steps to repel them from the cot well in advance, and bought sturdy nets to go over it (even though I'll be keeping the cats out of the bedroom at night). I'm happy with my choices, and I'm happy to take responsibility for them.

Basically, as long as someone makes sure they are well informed on the issue in question, be it drinking in pregnancy or whatever, then they should be able to do whatever they choose to do and take responsibility for the consequences, and it's nobody else's business.

CaptainVonTrapp Thu 07-Feb-13 13:16:42

What you don't take any risks amyboo?! wink

Good luck with dc3.

And Yes to what SolidGoldBrass said.

LeBFG Thu 07-Feb-13 13:26:15

SGB, your last post is on much firmer grounds and avoids much of what was discussed in your previous posts. No one on here is advocating telling pg women what to do hmm - just that the info be available to women to make the best choices for themselves.

To everyone who agrees with SGB, do you also agree that the patriarchy is making up these pg myths to keep women suppressed??? Do you really agree???

Egusta Thu 07-Feb-13 13:28:56

I am a card carrying Cat Obsessed Buckethead too. (love that phrase!). had the same 'advice' as you catlady. I was told by my MW that anyone who keeps cats has been exposed to toxo-whatsits and will be immune, which made me feel alot better.

Also. on the cat nets... i found they were quite flimsy and fell in, so DH constructed a kind of frame to fit over the moses basket (and later the cot) which he attached the cat net to. That worked well. And - goes to show you can never please some people.... a friend who had been loudest in telling us about how cats suffocated babies rang me one night in tears- literally TEARS as she said we were keeping DS in a 'cage' because of the cat net cover thing. Um right.... It kept him safe, as one of our cats (now sadly deceased- although that is not related;) ) really did love snuggling up on him if we did not catch her.

Sorry for hijack OP> smile

catladycourtney1 Thu 07-Feb-13 13:42:19

Okay, I agree with SGB's second post, not so much her first. As someone else pointed out, poverty really should not be a factor. There are plenty of less well-off people, including mothers on benefits and teenage mothers, who choose to educate themselves and make informed decisions for the good of themselves and their children, just as their are plenty of affluent people who are either ignorant or couldn't care less.

I do think the government likes to lay a lot of blame for these problems at the door of poverty, though. Hence the Healthy Start vouchers, the cheap vitamins schemes, etc. Of course if you're on a low income, fresh food and supplements can be a big expense, but I find that the way they're explained often implies that people on a low income or from poorer areas either wouldn't know that these things are important, or wouldn't bother with them unless they were given to them, which simply isn't true.

There are guidelines in place with regards to drinking in pregnancy (and smoking, eating undercooked food, etc), to make it easier for people to make good decisions. After all, if all pregnant women completely abstained from risky behaviour, there would be no ill effects, but if there were no guidelines and women continued to drink heavily and smoke and eat undercooked meat, then there would more than likely be problems in at least some of their children. If you really want to go against these guidelines, the responsibility is yours to make sure you know what you're doing and weigh up the risks against the benefits.

LeBFG Thu 07-Feb-13 13:44:13

As an extention of misinformation, the cat:toxo thing winds me up no end. This is an example where they find toxo in cats and toxo in women and decide the two are inevitably linked. In France, where toxo incidence is much higher, real dramatic reductions in infection rates during pg have been achieved through prenatal advice on eating and has ziltch to do with cats. French women love underdone lamb, steak and piles of charcuterie. As another example of misinformation, your MW Egusta was talking crap. I come from a cat family, have always kept cats and kittens, all have been outdoor cats and I've never had toxo. I also know many women in France with the same story so I know I'm not a one-off.

Fowey123 Thu 07-Feb-13 13:44:34

I was very fortunate as even before I knew I was pregnant, the smell and taste of wine changed, couldn't drink the stuff and I love my wine. If that doesn't happen for you then just take in moderation, but I guess its difficult to get the facts about safe limits.

catladycourtney1 Thu 07-Feb-13 13:52:07

LeBFG have you been tested for toxoplasmosis? That's quite interesting, because my midwife told me the same thing. In normal healthy adults, it doesn't have any symptoms, so you wouldn't know if you'd had it without a blood test for the antibodies.

LeBFG Thu 07-Feb-13 13:57:33

Yes, I have been tested as I live in France. It's a pain actually - all the way through this and the last pg I've had monthly blood tests - always come back negative. I wanted to dig my heels in and refuse this time round but was put under much pressure by gynae to do it sad <anything for a quiet life>.

catladycourtney1 Thu 07-Feb-13 14:03:26

Oh, that's a bit scary then! I was told that most people catch it in childhood by playing in soil, and if they don't, they'll get it from soil on fruit and veg or undercooked meat, and if you keep cats it's virtually guaranteed. I insisted on being tested for it at my first prenatal appointment because I had nobody to help me with the cat litter and wanted to make sure, but the MW's attitude was that it was pretty much a given that I'd have it, so I can imagine most women don't bother being tested!

Egusta Thu 07-Feb-13 14:10:36

I was told the exact same thing as catlady! I was also told that the Uk never ever tests for it.... and I could not even ask for it as it was not done here.
[wondering what other bits of crap I have been fed]

LeBFG Thu 07-Feb-13 14:12:15

Well, yes. This just illustrates to me the ignorance floating around. But you don't need to worry - just wash/peel raw veg and eat well cooked meats. IMO if you've spent the last x years not getting infected, then it's pretty highly unlikely you'll catch it in the 9 months you are pg when you're taking extra care. Hence why I think monthly bood tests are a waste of time and money (and add a monthly stress when the results arrive in the letterbox).

catladycourtney1 Thu 07-Feb-13 14:20:30

Egusta they were reluctant to test me, but I'd looked it up before the appointment and I knew they could do it -they just dont like to. And my MW asked if I have cats when she was going through all the foods I should avoid and stuff like that, so I asked then, after telling her that I did and would have to carry on cleaning up after them. She tried to tell me there was no point and they don't test for it, but she'd just been telling me about the risks of miscarriage and stillbirth associated with it so she'd backed herself into a bit of a corner smile

But as BFG said, just be extra vigilant about washing and cooking your food, and washing your hands, and you should be fine.

Egusta Thu 07-Feb-13 14:48:15

Good for you catlady for standing your ground!

It is funny about the various dictates. I craved ham sandwiches when I was pg, and never gave it a thought. My cousin in Australia was told to avoid all deli meats.

[not to mention that my own DM - who was a nurse ffs told me that babies should be having weak ribena from birth... hmm ]

Mixxy Thu 07-Feb-13 15:03:22

I've always had cats and tested negative for toxo in the I first trimester. Knew about the kitty litter tray, did not know I shouldn't be feeding mine.

catladycourtney1 Thu 07-Feb-13 15:12:06

Mixxy I've never heard anything about not feeding them either, but I suppose if you wash their bowls after they've eaten, they could (possibly) have the parasite on from the cat's saliva, from licking their arse or soil off their fur or something. It's definitely a long shot lol, I wouldn't worry too much about it

CrumbyCrumbs Thu 07-Feb-13 15:43:33

Love the way you're on about the womans right to drink if she wants to, but I am more concerned about the unborn child's right to not be exposed to a dangerous toxin that its liver is unable to process! But maybe that's just me...

Bue Thu 07-Feb-13 15:46:00

I mostly agree with SGB. Of course I don't think the patriarchy is making up risks to suppress women, but I do think there's a worrying trend regarding society's policing and surveillance of pregnant women. I've heard it referred to as the "fetalisation of pregnancy" - increasingly we seem to be elevating the rights of the fetus to be free of any risk above the rights of the mother to make her own choices as a person. I am thinking of writing my dissertation for my midwifery degree on this topic. But don't listen to me, I freely admit to being a raging feminist...

bubbles11 Thu 07-Feb-13 16:04:23

i would say "don't drink anything" but i would not judge someone who decided to have the occassional very small amount
I didn't for either of my pregnancies and 9 months did not feel like too long to wait
it is good training for when you are up all night with crying babies after they are born, adding too much alcohol to the physical demands of night (and daytime) breast feeding would have been (and was) too much for me anyway so being used to being dry for those early days with both babies was actually a real bonus
but as i say everyone is different and if it does not damage your baby then horses for courses

ExpatAl Thu 07-Feb-13 16:20:22

Everybody processes and digests alcohol differently. None of us can say what's safe for anyone else or take someone else's word that it's fine for us.
I had quite a few Christmas drinks before my test and didn't worry at all. However, I undercooked some pork and am still losing sleep over it weeks later. I am tested for toxo monthly too. Also CMV.

When all the evidence available to date seems to show that small amounts of alcohol occasionally do NO HARM AT ALL then that's the advice that should be given to women. Not 'If you have even a sip of sherry your baby will die and have brain damage and everyone will hate you for being a selfish cow.'

And yes, I do think a woman's right to choose whether or not to drink is more important than a foetus. Because a woman is a person and has rights, a foetus is not yet a person and therefore does not have rights. The only way foetuses can be given rights is for rights to be taken from women, and that is not acceptable.

pinkbananabread Thu 07-Feb-13 17:13:29

How about taking into account the alcohol the mother AND the father drank before getting pregnant...? Pretty sure that will have affected the quality of egg and sperm, but obviously it's all about judging the mother..

How many of us were so abstemious in the months prior to getting pregnant when the gametes were developing...? Didn't think so.

JenaiMorris Thu 07-Feb-13 17:44:43

A science question if you please: I thought embryos took their nourishment from the yolk prior to 8 or 9 weeks pregnancy (6-7 weeks gestation) when they become fetuses and the whole placenta thing happens. Doesn't that mean that any alchohol you consume prior to that cannot have been passed to them?

I'm not suggesting it's a good idea to spend the first 8 weeks getting pissed btw.

As an aside, someone mentioned sushi - was it Bue ? I think the risk there is with the rice and with the fact that it is a chilled, prepared product (so a listeria risk, like bagged salad and packet sarnies) rather than the fish parasite.

AmberSocks Thu 07-Feb-13 18:02:44

although i doubt the odd drink is harmful i dont drink when pregnant,i rarely drink at all really though so its not hard for me.

i prefer to only put things into my body which are good for me and the baby,so just because somethings not harmful doesnt mean its beneficial.

AmberSocks Thu 07-Feb-13 18:04:39

solid gold brass

do you really see drinking as a right though?i see the baby as more important.

>>Maybe there should be a MN campaign to make it clearer how many units of alcohol are in a drink.<<

Totally agree with this, so many ladies think they are just having a glass of wine once or twice a week but some of the wine glasses you can buy now hold half a bottle so it's more like 4 units instead of 1, and loads of beers are stronger than people think.

Also totally agree that a pregnant woman is not public property and she has to make her own decisions but I don't know that I disagree with guidelines as they stand.

Mawgatron Thu 07-Feb-13 18:51:48

I still think that some people are being preachy, if I choose to have a glass of wine, once a week, then that is my choice. I am an adult, who seems to have spent the majority of my 21 weeks of pregnancy researching what I can and can't do, in order to make informed choices.I think it is a little patronising to suggest that women who choose to have the odd drink (which does not exceed nhs guidance) do not think their unborn child is important! My first baby is the most important thing in my life, and my choice to have a small glass of wine (or own cats, ride my bicycle to work, drink 4 cups of tea in a day or eat the occasional soft boiled egg) does not change that!
Mumsnet is supposed to be non judgmental, and the majority of people on here are very supportive. However, there are some overly emotive people on here who want to put others on a guilt trip for the choices that they have legitimately made about their own pregnancy! Those people need to accept that individuals have the right to behave in whatever way is right for them. Stop judging ladies!!

Mawgatron Thu 07-Feb-13 18:55:09

Oh, and it is also a little patronising to suggest that people don't know what a small glass is...not jumping on you specifically little miss, but lots of people have made this point and I just wanted to put that out there

LeBFG Thu 07-Feb-13 19:06:57

Hmm, some interesting points. Pinkbananabread - even though I can see why sperm quality would have an impact on fetal health, surely the 9 months of the fetus growing inside the woman will have a much more important impact on fetal health? That being the case, it's no surprise that a whole lot more effort goes into what happens to pg women than to fathers.

There is no good evidence that one glass of champers in 9 months is going to hurt anyone. But the study linked to above showed that there is a measurable effect on IQ when as little as one unit a week is consumed! (effect is small - I don't want to overstate this). This counts as light drinking, not even moderate in my books. So it's not true that light drinking leads to NO HARM AT ALL.

The rights of the fetus vs rights of the mother is an interesting question. Thankfully, most of us on here don't live in Ireland where this is sadly something more of a stark and difficult issue. I think both parties have rights, just not the same rights. No one on this board is suggesting taking rights from one party to give to the other (not even sure this sort of exchange is always the case either). And even where this is the case, is it always so very important? The women can chose to sacrifice her wine habit, the fetus has no choice in whether it imbibes alcohol or not. No long term harm to mum whether she drinks or not, possible long term harm to fetus i.e. for a little pain the other party could have a lot to gain.

For those of us who are not judgemental when we see a pg women swigging a bottle of beer, do we feel the same indifference when we see the women with a fag? Personally, I have a much bigger reaction when I see a women smoking, though this is in fact illogical - drinking is much more potentially dangerous than smoking.

JulesJules Thu 07-Feb-13 19:17:58

What SolidGoldBrass said.

And Zoe Williams Completely Unscientific Advice

mawgatron - I know you weren't singling me out but just wanted to explain my thinking. I used to work in a bar so I'm thinking from perspective of how many people literally had no idea what they could drink and not go over the legal driving limit. Obviously the blood alcohol limit doesn't handily transfer into alcohol units but it was staggering how many people didn't realise the difference between a large or a small glass of wine, a pint or a bottle of beer etc.

I also work with teen mums now, many of whom struggle with literacy issues, and they literally can't read the booklets given to them by GPs and only have v preachy social workers who tell them they can't drink at all, have to give up smoking etc. So they think sod that, I'm going to drink while I'm pg, it's what my friends do etc.One told me she'd headrd that drinking alcopops was better than vodka and redbull, which of course is true in terms of strength so she thought she'd get just one WKD and take it to a party. But her 'one' WKD was one of the supersize bottles and she genuinely didn't really grasp the difference. But posters / ad campaign which visually shows the difference would, imho, make a difference to illustrating what is actually a 'moderate' amount of alcohol and what adds up to a whopping 5 units in one glass. And if it helps some people keep track on their alcohol consumption while pg then I'd say it can't hurt.

Egusta Thu 07-Feb-13 19:22:08

Interesting question, LeBFG.

I do not smoke, and have never smoked, and detest smoking. So when I see a pg woman smoking I feel a visceral revulsion. My DM was a chain smoker when she was pg, and I have chronic asthma, which has nearly killed me several times. I do lay that at her door. [musing.. although this was the late 60s and people did not know about it then].

I do enjoy a drink occasionally, yet when I see a pg woman enjoying a small glass of something I am blase.

So, I admit freely that I am being illogical. I need to think about that a bit more.

pinkbananabread Thu 07-Feb-13 19:31:07

LeBFG - I'm not saying that the 9m of being inside the mother aren't important, but the sperm provides half of the foetus' genetic make-up and sets into motion some things about the foetus which cannot be changed. The 9m of growing is working with the basic genetic structure of the foetus: it cannot alter any fundamental flaws.

So I don't think the importance of the sperm's health can be underestimated.

catladycourtney1 Thu 07-Feb-13 19:31:39

I would like to see evidence that drinking in pregnancy is more harmful than smoking. I would have thought that, since when you breathe in smoke you also breathe in carbon monoxide, which binds with haemoglobin in the blood in place of oxygen, and the foetus gets it's oxygen from your blood supply, breathing CO effectively starves it of oxygen. Say you smoke twenty a day, three minutes a cigarette, that's an hour a day that the foetus is getting less oxygen that it should be, hence why smoking leads to low birth weight. And that's not to mention all the other nasty stuff in cigarettes and their potential side effects for baby.

ExpatAl Thu 07-Feb-13 20:13:42

Sperm health is important yes - more for not passing on genetic nasties. But mum swithes on genes when pregnant. Her diet also plays a huge part in health. It is not misogynistic to say that the choices of the mum matter far more than the dad.

IrisGirl Thu 07-Feb-13 21:41:06

i had a the odd glass of wine during my pregnancy, probably once a week, i'd have 2-3 small glasses watered down with tonic water...even when mad at my brother's wedding (i was 7mnths at the time) and had a glass of champagne!!
i'm a great great believer in everything in moderation....obv i don't advocate drinking loads all the time, but i don't think the odd little tipple now and again will do any harm at all x

IrisGirl Thu 07-Feb-13 21:41:53

ooopwent mad that was meant to be, although i probably was mad at my brothers wedding lol x

I took that stance that if there was even the slightest risk to my baby, that I wouldn't, so I didn't <halo>.

Fillyjonk75 Thu 07-Feb-13 22:10:34

When I was pregnant with DD1 and DD2, the advice was one to two drinks a week was ok. And it was! So that's what I'd stick to again if I had another baby.

pinkbananabread Thu 07-Feb-13 22:22:21

Expat I didn't know that (about switching on the genes). Very interesting.

I wasn't trying to make out that it's unfair that the blame/responsibility isn't 50:50. More that it's incorrect to assume that living the life of a teetotal saint whilst pregnant isn't necessarily enough to make up for harmful habits prior to pregnancy: that a foetus' health isn't only determined by the 38-odd weeks it spends in the uterus.

zcos Thu 07-Feb-13 23:15:48

lebfg large amounts of a lot of things are a toxin eg caffeine ... I'm talking 125/175ml wine with a meal or half an ale.

zcos Thu 07-Feb-13 23:25:31

just to back up my views 2006 studies by British journal of obstetrics and gynaecology concluded there was no convincing evidence of adverse effects of pre-natal alcohol exposure at low to moderate levels (moderate defined as 10.5 units per week- obviously not all at the same time). if you like wine I think there is nothing wrong with having a small glass here and there ... same as would be if you like chocolate have a couple of bars a week as a treat. completely deniying yourself (on what basis) will just make the 10 months longer!

zcos Thu 07-Feb-13 23:30:35

julesjules thanks for bringing up zoe Williams again highly recommend her book ... debunks ALOT of nonsense on this topic breastfeeding and gf

scissy Fri 08-Feb-13 01:56:17

I didn't, but I was taking medication throughout and figured one less 'drug' for DD to be exposed to could only be a good thing. I also don't drink much anyway so it wasn't a big hardship.

ExpatAl Fri 08-Feb-13 08:59:21

What is gf zcos?

Pink addicts who clean up their act when pregnant can have beautiful healthy babies. As I understand it what matters most is the DNA integrity of the egg and its energy. I think an unhealthy life can have a negative impact on your fertility perhaps but on the health of the baby if you change when pregnant? I don't know by the way. Just putting it out there.

EugenesAxe Fri 08-Feb-13 09:01:25

My friend is a MW and did her dissertation (or whatever it is) on foetal alcohol syndrome. She said that it can present when mothers have only had a little during pregnancy - I think it's a 'depends on the person' type thing.

The reality for me was avoiding until third trimester and only drinking then when there was a reason to. I did drink when he was floating in the tubes but we had a honeymoon baby and I didn't want to not have the works at dinnertime at our nice hotel! Once I realised we might actually have succeeded I stopped (so at about 1-2 weeks).

Getting a bit tipsy (two champagne flutes?) I am fairly sure is part of the reason I went into labour...

ExpatAl Fri 08-Feb-13 09:08:20

I don't suppose she'd like to share the dissertation? It would be really interesting.

JourneyThroughLife Fri 08-Feb-13 09:15:01

I didn't drink a drop during any of my pregnancies. Yes, there's no evidence that small amounts of alcohol can cause any harm but I personally didn't want to risk it, and it certainly didn't do any harm to stop. That doesn't mean I'd tell anyone else to do as I did, you have to do what you feel is right and comfortable with.

However, my DS was born with a condition which required medical treatment and when such a thing happens, all parents ask Why? Why me? At least I had the comfort of knowing I hadn't "caused" it to happen by drinking alcohol, and didn't torture myself with "what if I hadn't?" thoughts. On the other hand, it also proves that things happen during pregnancy whether you drink alcohol or not...my not drinking didn't prevent a problem occuring either...

LeBFG Fri 08-Feb-13 09:18:51

zcos - lots of things are toxins, that's why there are recommended limits even to caffeine consumption. The study you refer to was older than this new paper. This new piece of research (only one paper mind) genuinely surprised me. I really didn't think such a small amount of alcohol could have any effect whatsoever....but it does.

Interesting also people's definition of moderate or light drinking. On another thread someone was saying that one unit a week was a lot. She drank 3/4 units a year so 1u week was a lot. I really agree that units are hard to assess. I still get confused about what a small glass of wine is and which beers are lighter etc. I don't think it's patronising at all to suggest this is difficult to assess.

Smoking reduces O2 so fetus tissues grow just as well, they are just smaller - lots of the toxins in cigarettes do not pass the placenta. Alcohol damages cells and DNA however so even small amounts can be potenially damaging to delicate developing tissues.

zcos Fri 08-Feb-13 09:25:02

expatal Gina Ford

zcos Fri 08-Feb-13 09:27:54

Lebfg that's exactly what I was saying lots of things are toxins...
I gave up coffee completely and don't eat fish (because of the mercury)

LeBFG Fri 08-Feb-13 10:25:19

I don't understand zcos, are you comparing drinking a coffee with a glass of wine?

Thinking about this more, I'm sure I remember lots of threads with smoking mums trying to give up and everyone saying they smoked their last fag as soon as they had the BFP etc. Advice quickly becoming judgemental - "think of your unborn child, how can you carry on smoking?" etc. Is this simply because, as a rather middle-class forum, drinking is more socially acceptable to us than smoking? So we justify ourselves - "I don't smoke, eat fish or pate but I don't see the harm in a few glasses of wine a week - give me a break!".

cafecito Fri 08-Feb-13 10:32:21

LeBFG is completely correct

DanniiH Fri 08-Feb-13 10:51:01

It's all getting a bit judgy isn't it! Sorry to ask such a controversial question, was not intended to start a debate I was just wondering what other people did. Thank you for your answers. xx

zcos Fri 08-Feb-13 11:26:24

no not drinking a coffee but drinking 2 cups plus a day I gave it up years ago when TTC I also cut down to 125ml of wine (a small glass) which I thoroughly enjoyed with meals out or a smaller sherry glass occasionally in the house.
Smoking has a proven effect on fetuses and even if you dis regard that on a mother anyway... 125ml of wine 1-2 times a week will not effect my body a dramatic way as a few fags a day. and I don't think its a class argument I'm from a working class background and valley and those who choose to drink will drink and to smoke will smoke. and this is what I object to on the whole abstinence argument the government telling me I can't choose and can't be sensible in my decisions from recent research drinking 2 cans of pop a week does more harm and I'm more concerned about that!

JenaiMorris Fri 08-Feb-13 11:29:36

Since when were pregnant women advised to avoid fish? confused

Swordfish and other long living fish at the top of the food chain, yes (because of the mercury) but others?

ExpatAl Fri 08-Feb-13 11:30:48

I really agree about all the rubbish that's in soft drinks, especially fizzy stuff zcos.

zcos Fri 08-Feb-13 11:41:57

again just to back up my previous statements because I am no expert. those who want a small glass of wine and are worried because of some of the statements on here must recommend zoe Williams what not to expect when your expecting it rails against earnest finger wagging books and those that make you feel guilty check out the chapter "why abstinence is for suckers" smile its a great read.
I do wonder whether some people on here are working for the government. it was supposed to be a topic to post what you do and why.

zcos Fri 08-Feb-13 11:45:00

jenai lots of the books I read no more than 2 small portions a week because of mecury some said not at all and to take suplements instead. I was being flippant as if we listened to all the advice and statements out there it would be a long 10 months of eating nothing.
I didn't eat fish incidentally as I happen to be a vegetarian.

CrumbyCrumbs Fri 08-Feb-13 14:27:51

Right, I've been very polite so far and to be quite honest I would rather risk the flaming. I don't know how to get across my point without it offending a couple of people, so tough you're just gonna have to be offended.

Can't find the post I am referring to, but to the person who said that you would be taking the mother's rights away to give rights to a foetus, what a load of rubbish! In my eyes, when a woman gets pregnant it is her responsibility to ensure that foetus/baby is healthy because it is a part of her for the 40 weeks gestation! I find it incredibly selfish to say that the woman's rights are more important than the health of an unborn child, especially for something so unnecessary as alcohol.

If you can't abstain from alcohol for 9 months well I think there is a bit of a problem. I'm not talking about those of you who have had the odd inch of champagne to toast a special occasion, or a small glass of wine on a special occasion, but those who are still drinking every night/ every week - why are you even having children? If you can't sacrifice alcohol now for 9 months whilst pregnant, how do you expect to make all the sacrifices necessary to raise a happy, healthy child?! It actually upsets me slightly to think that there are people out there that care more about having their own "rights" compromised at the expense of their unborn child.

And before you say how incredibly "judgy" this is, it is not "judgy" at all it is a bloody fact that you should be putting that baby first.

ExpatAl Fri 08-Feb-13 14:41:52

I get uncomfortable when people start talking about sacrifices. Lots of things contribute to a childs health, not just what you eat or drink.

As I mentioned back up the thread, I am not a medical type but I do work with teens and parents. Some are pregnant teenagers, some are teenagers who are considered to have been botn with fetal alcohol syndrome which has caused developmental problems, some are the parents of these teens.

I advocated mumsnet doing a campaign to let people know how many units are in common drinks, since people (myself included) do get confused and it's interesting to see if your own alcohol intake is light, moderate or heavy, depending on your usual tipple.

I also agree that this thread was supposed to just be a chat rather than an angry debate about drinking in pg, and I personally would err on the side of caution but certainly wouldn't tell other women what to do. But I just got this through from work in my email today and thought, since it's very relevant, I should share:

>> An estimated 6,000 to 7,000 babies are born in Britain each year with alcohol related brain damage known as Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). This means that 1 in 100 children born, 1% of the population, may be affected by FASD.

We have been funded by the Public Health Agency to provide ½ day FASD awareness raising workshops. <<

1 in 100 kids is a pretty shock statistic (if it's accurate)

ExpatAl Fri 08-Feb-13 15:21:54

Hmmm, I'm assuming that many of those kids had the same mum. Bit misleading.

CrumbyCrumbs Fri 08-Feb-13 16:02:21

Regardless, ExpatAl, of whether or not some of those children have the same mother, it is still clearly a problem. And 6,000 to 7,000 babies a year is a LOT of babies to be affected by alcohol - and of those 6,000 to 7,000 babies in one year, they can't be from the same mother because she can only have one baby a year!

I would rather not take the risk than be part of such a sad statistic sad

FriendofDorothy Fri 08-Feb-13 16:08:03

Oh this subject has a tendency to wind me up. I work in drug and alcohol treatment and all the people I know who had babies with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome were drinking significant and substantial amounts regularly, if not daily.

I had a baby 8 weeks ago and whilst pregnant I would have the occasional glass of wine without worrying about it.

Significant hard occurs with significant amounts of alcohol, not the occasional drink.

CrumbyCrumbs Fri 08-Feb-13 16:13:56

FriendofDorothy Anyone with half a brain would class having a glass of wine with dinner every night regular drinking not occasional! And some of the people on this thread say they refuse to give up their glass of wine every night with their dinner. That is not occasional drinking.

mrsR1991 Fri 08-Feb-13 16:15:01

when pregnant with my daughter i had a sip of champagne at my partners brothers wedding for the toasts but wouldnt allow myself any more for fear of people judging but i had a small glass of rose to celebrate my bday and a i had a weak shandy near the end too. my daughter is fine. i am currently 13+4 and have had no alcohol except a few sips of my partners cider the other night but i keep really wanting a glass of red wine!! i am not allowing myself it tho as it is a high percentage one that we have in the house. i think a little bit is fine as long as it isn't a lot in one go or every night. i have heard stress is more dangerous than alcohol xx

mrsR1991 Fri 08-Feb-13 16:16:10

ps crumbycrumbs i agree with you a glass a night is not occasional an i would class that too much in pregnancy :-/

zcos Fri 08-Feb-13 16:17:13

I think that there does need to be education about what exactly a unit is ... when I talk about a couple of glasses of wine a week I mean 125 ml but a lot of pubs do 175ml as a small and some pubs have a measure of wine as 250ml!
I disagree with the term sacrifice as it shouldn't be that you feel that way.
I would have drunk a bottle of wine a week 7.5 units or more if there was a special event before I was TTC ... I went down to 1-2 glasses of wine every couple of weeks or so I didn't drink to feel tipsy or drunk but to enjoy the taste and as an accompany to a meal. But I would defend a woman's right to have 1-2 glasses a week.
I think if I went out for a meal it is better to have a small glass of wine with a meal than a large cola.

FriendofDorothy Fri 08-Feb-13 16:18:46

CrumbyCrumb I totally agree with you. I wouldn't suggest that a glass of wine a day is anything other than regular drinking.

zcos Fri 08-Feb-13 16:20:18

I agree friendofdorothy I think the governments previous abstinence stance seems to just be making the wrong people feel guilty!

Mixxy Fri 08-Feb-13 16:31:26

Oh question FriendofDorothy! Would you have any idea of the rates of FAS in mothers who drank before they knew they were pregnant but not afterwards? I've trawled Lexus-Nexus but can't find a single study or statistic.

Mawgatron Fri 08-Feb-13 16:31:54

'Those who are drinking every night/ every week why are you even having children'?
How dare you? Never heard so much guff in my life! So you don't think I shouldn't have kids because of a glass of wine a week? Get off your pedestal, concentrate on your own pregnancy and stop piling guilt on other people. You are bang out of line. This is supposed to be non judgment, yet you look down your nose at other people! Once again, individuals have the right to make their own choices!

Mawgatron Fri 08-Feb-13 16:35:24

Oh and I'm glad that you have decided, without knowing anything about me, that I am not putting my unborn son first. Nice. Crumby, you need to focus on yourself and your own decisions, rather than making sweeping value judgements about others. And it is judging. Bet you love the daily mail...

Mawgatron Fri 08-Feb-13 16:36:18

'Don't think I should have kids'
Bloody iPhone...

FriendofDorothy Fri 08-Feb-13 16:54:48

No idea Mixxy.

Mixxy Fri 08-Feb-13 17:18:15

Rats! Thanks anyway *FriendofDorothy.

ExpatAl Fri 08-Feb-13 17:28:07

I think though that although there maybe other challenges such as the general health of a previous alcoholic that a woman who stopped when pregnant would not have a FAS child. I don't see how that's physiologically possible.

The NHS has exact details on what a unit is. www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/2270.aspx?CategoryID=54#close

CrumbyCrumbs Fri 08-Feb-13 19:16:46

If you are drinking a glass of wine every night then no, that is not putting your unborn sob first. I'm not gonna sugarcoat it!

If I was to say I was having "just one or two lines of cocaine at the weekend" because there has been no study to suggest it will harm my baby, what would you think then? Just because drinking alcohol is classed as socially acceptable that does not give anyone the right to expose an unborn child to it! I don't care how you dress it up - its still putting your child at risk!

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 08-Feb-13 19:23:48


LexyMa Fri 08-Feb-13 19:26:08

Sorry Olivia, we'll get onto the merits of gin soon. grin

JenaiMorris Fri 08-Feb-13 19:26:15

Crumby sounds very young.

Crumby's attitude is just the sort of thing that needs speaking out against: of course women matter more than foetuses. It's not your business what other women choose to do in pregnancy, end of.

ExpatAl Fri 08-Feb-13 21:12:07

I think Crumby works for an organisation that picks up the pieces of damaged lives which makes her quite emotionally invested. Fair play. I like people who care, even if I disagree.

SGB, I don't want to go the American route but it's odd to say that women matter more when it's do with drinking alcohol. Seems a strange thing to defend so fiercely.

Mawgatron Fri 08-Feb-13 22:36:14

If you actually read my post, I have been having a 125ml glass of wine once each week. I have said that numerous times. But to be fair, even if I had a glass a night, it is still one of you bloody business!! OP asked for a reasonable conversation about what choices people were making, not asking for you to get on you soap box. Grrrrrrr (restraining myself from swearing loudly...)

SamSmalaidh Fri 08-Feb-13 22:40:26

Drinking every night isn't good for your health, pregnant or not.

However, I have read that there is no real evidence of harm to a foetus when mothers drink less than 8 units a week. A drink or two once or twice a week is neither here nor there imo.

Mawgatron Fri 08-Feb-13 22:54:22

Crumby is only 21 so I should cut her some slack, but I'm not going to. This thread is about what people choose to do as individuals, not what she thinks everyone else should do.

zcos Fri 08-Feb-13 23:11:58

mawgatron where have you been all my life grin

katkoala Fri 08-Feb-13 23:12:14

have actually enjoyed reading all of your posts wink I'm 27+4 at the age of 32 think my body has welcomed the break from alcohol, having drank most weekends since I was about 16...not drinking at nights out gave my pregnancy away immediatelygrin My sis is 24 weeks and having the occasional wine...really is personal choice. ..I am planning on a wee bottle of prosecco in my hospital bag wink

zcos Fri 08-Feb-13 23:18:59

it makes a little more sense to know peoples ages as I think when your young 10 months out of your life doesn't seem like much, your bound to be much more idealistic and I would suggest that the younger you are the more likely it is that getting drunk is a pastime so you have to go cold turkey cos its all or nothing. My attitude to drinking was much different even 5-6 years ago.

It's the woman's right to choose for herself which matters. Whether that's her right to choose to terminate her pregnancy, refuse to have children in the first place, have children without being in a relationship, or choose, based on her own understanding and assessment of the risks involved, to drink alcohol/board a plane/eat liver pate/dye her hair. While health care professionals may advise women to do or not do certain things during pregnancy, the advice should be truthful and not a matter of 'do as you're told and stop asking for information'. Just as HCPs might advise a person to stop smoking/exercise more/take a course of treatment with unpleasant side effects, they should not be able to compel a person to obey.

The majority of PG women intend to do their best for the foetuses they carry, and hopefully that means informing themselves what the current thinking is on a variety of issues but they are not obliged to be complete martyrs and NO ONE ELSE should have any power over their decisions. If it becomes accepted that a foetus has 'rights' then it will be so easy for women's human rights to be stripped away - they can't do this, they mustn't do that, because it might harm the foetus. 'What about the baby?' has frequently been used as an excuse to sack pregnant women or refuse to employ them, don't forget. And while the UK is nowhere near as scary as the US is becoming, what happens there can influence what happens here. ANd if you want to know how scary things are getting for women in the US, google 'GOP War On Women'... Maniacs who hold public office making pronouncements to the effect that rape victims never become pregnant 'if it's real rape. Calls for all women of childbearing age to be forbidden to drink alcohol in case they are pregnant...

pinkbananabread Sat 09-Feb-13 02:06:09

Crumby I agree that drinking every night is too much - pregnant or not.

But you also judged those of us who drink once a week.


Would you be so judgemental of women who are obese and pregnant? Or women who don't exercise during pregnancy and live off junk food? Or women who - let's go crazy here - get into a car weekly?? All of these things are (proven to be) riskier than a glass of wine a week IMO.

I'm sure you've had a perfect lifestyle prior to getting pregnant and are living like a saint whilst pregnant, and will continue to do so whilst breastfeeding your child until s/he graduates onto an organic-only diet in a house totally free of all pesticides and germs. Well done you.

zcos Sat 09-Feb-13 05:20:19

katkoala I was planning that too ... its the last thing you want to do! ... I felt so high after giving birth I felt like superwoman ...and that was before the gas and air for stitches! but then your so out of it too. Plus if your planning on bf apparently alcohol travels into your milk moreso than it would have done to your baby when pregnant ... but that's another discussion altogether. But is interesting a lot of people have been saying abstain its only 9 months (its 10 its 10) but if you bf you should add that on too so its 16 weeks or actually 22 if you follow the government guidelines re that too (to bf for a year- they are pretty silent about drinking when bf).

zcos Sat 09-Feb-13 05:28:18

pinkbannanabread I would also add that if you were taking it to the extreme its not just about lifestyle choice and diet ... should you ensure you are in the correct financial position have the right family unit around ... be able to buy the big house in the fresh air round the corner from two sets of grandparents ... there is no end to it.
people need to have choices to live their life as they see fit ... I worked 6 extra years and waited to have children until I could afford it but would protect the right of any woman to have her child whatever the circumstance.

zcos Sat 09-Feb-13 05:32:39

sorry my earlier post I meant 16 mths or 22mths to abstain if your breastfeeding by the same argument that you should abstain when pregnant... wow and what if you want to bf for longer and want your next child with only a 2 year or less gap that could mean no small glass of wine, half a real ale etc for 4 years! plus that's potentially ontop of all the other things if you also follow government guidelines on that too ...

JollyRedGiant Sat 09-Feb-13 08:26:16


The third result down with Oct 2012 in the title is the breastfeeding network's guidance on alcohol intake if you're breastfeeding.

I followed this when BFing.

katkoala Sat 09-Feb-13 08:45:38

@zcos I want to bf and have dc2 relatively soon...think I'll be purchasing a breastpump today wink Also think sobriety makes you more aware of situations. ..family parties where both parents have a bit too much to drink, tipsy papas nearly dropping their beloved grandchildren....eek when will I drink a full bottle of wine again. .. my babysitters will be fully utilised grin

CrumbyCrumbs Sat 09-Feb-13 08:58:19

pinkbananabread oh ok, so it's ok for you to make a sweepibg judgement on me, but not the other way round... Shot yourself in the foot a bit there.. And I already said I was on about people drinkigng every day. I said i personally chose not to drink at all because of the risks (which was abswering the op) and only said more in depth why when people started flaming because I choose not to drink!
And FYI, every single sweeping judgement you made about me was completely wrong!

Mixxy Sat 09-Feb-13 09:10:13

Alright there crumbs, calm down. Remember stress is also very bad for the baby. Maybe make the sensible choice and avoid this thread as it is obviously getting your stress levels up. I mean, it's your choice, but working yourself into a sweat over this issue can harm the baby.

Sometimes it's okay not to have the last word. You can still be right and let others disagree.

LeBFG Sat 09-Feb-13 09:12:23

pinkbananabread I reiterate: would you judge someone who smoked during pg? I've seen a lot of judgemental posts on MN about smoking as little as 5 fags a day!!!! A lot of self-deception going on on this thread.

To the PP who says it's OK to drink less than 8u a week: a drop of IQ is linked to drinking as little as ONE UNIT A WEEK (how many times does this need saying - fingers in ears syndrome I fear).

Am I the only one who is a bit peeved as the ageism on here??? I'm 35 for the record and although don't find it in me to be judgemental, I too am shocked at the level of FAS and degree of jusification going on on this thread. I smoked all through my 20's and drank too. I knew the damage it was doing to my body but I am an adult and took the risks KNOWINGLY. I drank moderately in my last pg but wasn't aware that the level I was drinking at (2/3u a week) could have an impact on my baby. I now have this info and made the choice to abstain. It's fine if others read and understand the risks and choose to drink. They can also eat runny eggs and raw oysters too - I have no real quibble. But PLEASE, don't pretend that alcohol is about as bad for you as caffeine - babies have never had brain damage from overdosing on coffee!

SGB what can I say? If we take your position that the fetus has no rights, not even a right to life, we are agreeing that it's just fine to abort a baby AT TERM. I know this is what you believe (that's fine) but I'm not sure it's what people on here think they are agreeing to when they defend their weekly alchol intake.

they should not be able to compel a person to obey. - no one is advocating this and (although have no idea about the US) there is no way any power in UK or France are compelling pg women to do anything!!! Thanks goodness too.

SamSmalaidh Sat 09-Feb-13 09:15:24

It is already legal to abort a foetus at term, and actually I think many people would agree that that is the only logical position to take if you believe that the rights of a woman override the rights of a foetus.

Mixxy Sat 09-Feb-13 09:20:36

And LeBFG saying something outrageous like you know that SGB believes in killing a child at term, when in fact you don't know anything of the sort, makes you seem a bit fanatical. Just breath a little. Maybe stick with decaf after the arrival of the LO, huh? smile

JenaiMorris Sat 09-Feb-13 09:20:55

Good grief.

LeBFG Sat 09-Feb-13 09:21:11

It IS the logical conclusion but I disagree that this is a widely accepted and approved outcome for the majority of posters on MN. There is a reason why it is not legal to do so - think of the public outcry.

LeBFG Sat 09-Feb-13 09:22:18

Mixy - I'll let SGB answer for herself wink.

SamSmalaidh Sat 09-Feb-13 09:50:54

Even if you accept the foetus has some limited right to life after a certain point of gestation (which is probably the stance most people take) it does not follow that the foetus has any other rights that trump that of the mother.

Mawgatron Sat 09-Feb-13 11:40:02

Crumby, you actually were judging people who drink every night/every week. And no one is flaming you for your choices, they are flaming you for implying other people should question why they are having children for doing things slightly differently to you. Can't you see the difference?

CrumbyCrumbs Sat 09-Feb-13 15:45:28

I love the way we're in the wrong for disagreeing with drinking whilst pregnant, and aren't allowed to voice our opinion for fear of someone thinking we're "judging" them, yet people can make whatever assumptions they like about us for choosing not to drink.

And will people stop being so bloody ageist, my age has nothing whatsover to do with this conversation. And yes, not that its any of your business but I do indeed work with vulnerable young people and adults, some of whom have had babies born with FAS.

Mixxy Sat 09-Feb-13 16:07:10

LeBF?g Answer for herself? Seems like you put the words in her mouth first. wink. Why stop now?

JenaiMorris Sat 09-Feb-13 16:11:59

Mawg has hit the nail on the head.

Crumb, you age is relevant because we're cutting you a little slack for your youthful idealism and black and white view of things.

fwiw I cringe at some of the opinions on child rearing and parenthood I spouted in my pre-motherhood 20s.

CrumbyCrumbs Sat 09-Feb-13 16:17:37

But that's just the point, I'm not in my pre-motherhood 20's, I have already got a son, he just happens to be an angel now. So don't talk to me like I'm some naive teenager who hasn't lived, I have just as much right to an opinion as someone 10 years my senior, just as if there was a 15 year old mother voicing an opinion on here she would have just as right to her view as the rest of you. You all chirp on about "rights" then you come out with some ageist comment like that!

pinkbananabread Sat 09-Feb-13 16:18:31

Crumb - if all my assumptions about you are incorrect, then feel free to condemn my weekly glass of wine. In return, I will judge you for not breastfeeding. Pretty sure medical opinion is on my side, not yours.

LeBFG Sat 09-Feb-13 16:21:17

By that reckoning, Jenai, we should be looking at the tried and tested wisdom of our mothers and grandmothers who I'm sure think our generation is full of youthful idealism too. What a font of wisdom they are!

CrumbyCrumbs Sat 09-Feb-13 16:22:41

So now you're saying my son died because I didn't breastfeed... Except I did, and plan on doing so with this baby. Stop getting personal.

JenaiMorris Sat 09-Feb-13 16:31:21

Fair point lebfg. Although my mother was indeed very wise; she hid her rolling eyes very well when I was rambling on with precious moments twaddle and my breastfeeding eulogies.

Crumb I am very sorry to hear about your son. I can't begin to imagine how that must feel.

CrumbyCrumbs Sat 09-Feb-13 16:34:21

I think this should stop here. It is not gettibg us anywhere.

Some of us think a couple of drinks are ok.

Some of us think it isn't worth the risk.

Both are entitled to their opinion, both are obviously free to do whatever they want.

OP wanted to know our reasons why we thought this, and I am pretty sure we have voiced those more than once. Some people have turned this into a cat fight, which is not what is is supposed to be!

parttimer79 Sat 09-Feb-13 16:53:24

Wow I came on to comment on the original post but got embroiled!

I am 14 weeks and not drinking because even the smell makes me heave. No plans to drink unless I can stomach a sip of bubbly at a friends wedding when I'm 24 weeks. Incidentally baby also seems to hate the idea of caffeine as tea and coffee make me heave too.

But to put my 2 penneth in, although I wouldn't go as far as to say that risk in pregnancy is a patriarchal myth (unless I am having a very angry day), I do agree with bue that this policing and surveillance of pregnant women enrages me.
I am still the same intelligent, rational woman that I was before sperm met egg! Provide me with well researched, clear health information and then let me make my own decisions, as I am surely capable of doing.

Sanctimoniousness, whether from the NHS, other posters or randoms in the street does not sit well with me.

Not that I would imply any correlation between that kind of behaviour and reading the Daily Mail, I've not done the research yet...

pinkbananabread Sat 09-Feb-13 17:21:03

Right, I’ve calmed down a little bit now and am going to leave this conversation. I shouldn’t have gotten so personal: apologies Crumbs.

Have healthy pregnancies all.

JaquelineHyde Sat 09-Feb-13 17:41:48

Wow this has just got ridiculous and some of the attacks on posters are appaling.

I am currently 30 weeks pg and haven't touched a drop and don't intend to.

However, this is my choice and I am happy with it. I am sure anyone who has a few shandies whilst pg knows what the risks are/could be and are still happy with their decision. This is all anyone can ask for surely?

The only time I would suggest it was a problem would be if the woman in question felt like they had to drink because they just couldn't get through 9 months without having a drink. In my opinion this is the sign of someone with a drink problem and a completely different thread grin

zcos Sat 09-Feb-13 21:43:51

Lebfg it was me that said about the 8 units a week I was quoting a study... what are you quoting.
katkoala what if you can't pump many babies will only take milk direct.

katkoala Sat 09-Feb-13 23:31:45

zcos...I'll be sober for a hell of a lot longer...simples grin

zcos Sun 10-Feb-13 07:45:11

you don't have to be drunk! and you would have to be very easily affected for 125m (1 unit of wine) to affect you in that way.

ExpatAl Sun 10-Feb-13 10:01:12

Some people are though zcos. That's the point.

zcos Sun 10-Feb-13 11:46:35

yes every body has to make their own decision... katkoala has said she will stay sober if she can't pump but I haven't been talking about getting drunk!

cafecito Sun 10-Feb-13 12:19:12

<tiptoes in>

cafecito Sun 10-Feb-13 12:26:06

before I say anything, I see nothing wrong with a debate on this subject and it's bound to be a little emotive as a subject when it possibly affects every single one of us.

Secondly, before I come across as 'judgmental' - in my first pregnancy, I drank A LOT before I even realised I was pregnant. I'd been on holiday, with copious amounts of rum, before I found out. In my second pregnancy, again I had been drinking alcohol probably every day before I realised I was pregnant, and then - though I regret this now - I still had the odd glass of wine or g&t sporadically through the pregnancy. My DCs were not affected by FASD. So I'm not being judgeypants...

cafecito Sun 10-Feb-13 12:31:53

I wondered why alcohol caused damage as it does. It's one thing saying 'it's a teratogen, it poisons, it's bad' but there seemed very little known about the mechanism of damage. And that is true, little is known about the mechanism of damage and this is still the subject of much research.

What is known is that there are about 9 main pathways of damage to the fetus.

Obviously we have indirect mechanisms too, through maternal support of fetus (placenta, etc)

cafecito Sun 10-Feb-13 12:53:32

Alcohol is actually ethanol that is being ingested- C2H5OH. This is a teratogen itself. Its metabolism additionally releases products which are toxic.

Acetaldehyde is a toxic compound released from the metabolism of ethanol in the liber, which can accumulate in the brain. It causes death in certain groups of brain cells, and causes depletion in others, and reduced function in others.

Cell death can occur by necrosis -affecting surrounding cells also; and by apoptosis (a form of 'cell suicide')

In the example of apoptosis, this tends to happen when mitochondria are under oxidative stress (caused by alcohol + Calcium levels) - the process of apoptosis requires 'caspase' enzymes.
In the metabolism of alcohol, free radicals are formed which cause mitochondrial damage. Mitochondria store Ca++. The Calcium regulation is critical. The free radicals released affect mitochondrial permeability by damage so the mitochondria can break down, releasing Calcium and Cytochrome C. This leads to Caspase activation = cell apoptosis (and some necrosis)

During cell division, in a developing fetal brain, alcohol interferes with IGF-1 and IGF-11 (insulin like growth factor) by binding the receptors, and blocking the signalling function of the IGF-1 receptor. This means cell division does not proceed - it blocks central nervous system cell production ,and induces cell death by inhibiting IGF-1 receptor.

For example - in the brain you have Glial cells, which are non neuronal. These migrate (radial glia - known as 'scaffolding proteins') up through the brain and change into astrocytes. With the interference of alcohol, these radial glia become astrocytes prematurely. This leads to an abnorma positioning of cells within the brain itself.

Looking now at neurotransmitter systems - NTs help to organise the fetal CNS. Serotinin and Glutamate are crucial here. Glutamate acts with NMDA receptors. Alcohol reduces the number of NMDA receptors.
Serotonin is key for cortical development , promoting growth.

Excess NT activity leads to cellular excitotoxicity. This tends to be induced by Glutamate, and leads to neuronal death in the brain.

Glutamate + NMDA = Ca++ influx to the neuron. Excessive activation = Increased Ca++ accumulation in the neuron = necrosis and apoptosis in the brain.

Glucose uptake/transport is key in all cells, for NT/DNA/RNA production of developing fetal brains.

GLUT-1 - GLUT-7 are key - especially GLUT1 + GLUT3 in the brain. Alcohol exposure = decreased GLUT1 and GLUT3 receptors in the brain, and decreased gene expression.

And, crucially, the 'cell adhesion' molecules. CAMs. Ethanol itself interferes with L1 mediated cell adhesion. (L1-CAMs). This + altered gene expression = decrease retinoic acid

etc etc etc

cafecito Sun 10-Feb-13 12:59:51

sorry I have bad case of flu,may need to revisit this when my brain is functioning properly

however- the main points are

GABA = increased Glutamate = very very very toxic

L-CAM protein meddling = very very very bad

'Scaffolding proteins' = not forming correctly, cell migration not occuring properly, cells transitioning at the wrong point leading to completely wrongly 'wired' brain

mitochondrial damage = cell death/damage

there are obviously many more mechanisms. The statistic of 1% is accurate, FAS is a spectrum and no doubt in 10 years time this will be much more widely understood and publicised.

The fact is that all these mechanisms of damage affect different bits of the brain at different times, so it's impossible to say 'after x weeks it's fine to drink' that's simply not the case. There is a potential for damage with as little as 1 unit at any point throughout pregnancy, often before people even realise they are pregnant.

cafecito Sun 10-Feb-13 13:04:51
JenaiMorris Sun 10-Feb-13 13:06:26

cafe, how does alcohol effect embryos (as opposed to foetuses) when they're still reliant on the yolk rather than the placenta?

Genuine question btw.

Fwiw I drank far too much with ds. I simply didn't understand the risks (13 years ago) and also it seemed so abstract. I often wonder how much damage it did - there is no way I'd do the same again.

ExpatAl Sun 10-Feb-13 13:09:18

Zcos I meant that some people ARE affected by 1 unit of wine, therefore so is their baby.

cafecito Sun 10-Feb-13 13:19:45

There are various mechanisms (will get back to you if you like, I feel a bit rubbish today cant think properly!) one of the main ones though is the neural crest development and migration of cells from it. It's a crucial crucial stage.

as an example., the purkinje cells in the cerebellum are there for motor coordination. Alcohol has a minimal effect during division itself (ie embryonically) BUT the presence of alcohol makes these cells especially vulnerable to cell death later on (at a fetal stage), same with other areas of the brain, there can be found an excessive level of cell death during migration from the neural crest.

basically there is no safe time to have alcohol which is why the safest guidance is to have no alcohol at all if you think you may become pregnant. I know for many of us this is just not going to happen, but even in that first month when we didn't know we were pregnant - damage can still be done.

cafecito Sun 10-Feb-13 13:22:00

basically combination of gene expression and cell death, and increased susceptibility of later cell death

JenaiMorris Sun 10-Feb-13 13:25:21

Bloody hell cafe, that's terrifying.

Thanks for answering - hope you feel better soon.

ExpatAl Sun 10-Feb-13 13:28:30

This is conjecture though isn't it cafe? Where did you get your information from?

LeBFG Sun 10-Feb-13 13:45:58

I would have thought you would need to be pretty extemely pissed (really high blood alcohol levels) for the teeny tiny developing embryo to be affected. If it is affected at this really early stage I would expect the pregnancy to abort as any disturbance at this stage of development would be catastrophic. In fact, isn't drinking related to miscarriage rate? Anyway, if you were still pregnant by the time the placenta is developing I would expect (from this logic) the baby to be fine (obviously, if mum then continued to drink lightly/abstain).

CaptainVonTrapp Sun 10-Feb-13 13:56:03

I've always wondered about the safety of things like paracetamol on the foetus. We are assured its find during pregnancy. Is it really? Has someone checked? Anyone...

LeBFG Sun 10-Feb-13 14:03:18

There are a few drugs like paracetamol and progesterone that have been used so widely and for so long that we can be reassured as to their safety (sources: random internet pages + OB assurance wrt progesterone - haven't looked into this in any greater depth as was reassured).

cafecito Sun 10-Feb-13 14:38:42

no, it's not conjecture- those are the main mechanisms but there are another 5ish that primarily contribute to neurological damage in the embryo/fetus, and a couple more which cause heart defects. alcohol is the number one cause of intellectual disability.

ExpatAl Sun 10-Feb-13 15:32:26

Okay, but can you send me the source of your information? It's my understanding that this is the hypothesis and research is underway but there is no absolute knowledge, hence why the guidelines differ.

cafecito Sun 10-Feb-13 15:47:07

this would be the most current research findings from the leading research team (only research team on this) in the UK - like I said, in 10 years time we will be sick of hearing about this I'm sure. What I have said is absolute fact but don't want to say anything more detailed than that or will risk outing myself and I'd rather not do that.

zcos Sun 10-Feb-13 15:47:53

hi expat I know that's what you were saying but that wasn't what I was trying to get at it was missing my point.

ExpatAl Sun 10-Feb-13 15:56:38

What research team? You won't out yourself if you just quote the link to the research. You need to quote the research now because you've bascially said that women have caused their children terrible damage by having a drink two days before the child was conceived.

ExpatAl Sun 10-Feb-13 15:59:58

I was reading an American FAS website that said binge drinking is 2 or more drinks in a hour. The fetal cell death is alarming said like that but we just don't know enough. And what about the research that found children of light to moderate children had a significantly enhanced vocabulary at 18 months?

ExpatAl Sun 10-Feb-13 16:00:39

duh - children of light to moderate drinkers

cafecito Sun 10-Feb-13 16:02:39

no, not that they have, but that they could have. Like I said before I posted that, I myself drank alcohol in both of my pregnancies. Many of us do unintentionally at the beginning before we know we are pregnant, and many of us continue to drink small amounts believing conflicting research that it won't harm the fetus. Some are affected, many are not. I could have caused my children terrible damage yes- but I didn't realise that at the time. It's up to each individual to decide what they want to do but in my opinion - 9 months is not a long time to go without a drink when compared with the potential for damage otherwise. The only safe amount of alcohol is no alcohol.

LeBFG Sun 10-Feb-13 16:06:54

Ah, I think I can answer that Expat. I remember there was a link between drinking and maternal IQ. Many studies have that sort of confounding factor. The stuff cafe is talking about is FAS - which is interesting and higher incidence than I ever thought - but it seems obvious to me that fetal damage must happen on a scale i.e. the more you drink (or are suseptible to alcohol damage) the more damage is detectable. I don't believe we should be talking about FAS in the same paragraph as drinking 2 drinks during pg!

Verekerlady Sun 10-Feb-13 16:12:55

I think it's great that is subject is being discussed so passionately. The cat fights are a bit extreme but it's good that people are discussing this and questioning advice and coming up with their own opinion. I am a strong believer that it is each individual woman's choice when it comes to her body and what she puts in it, pregnant or not. And as shown on this thread by many people, opinions change as people learn new information.

We're learning all the time about the human body and also about how resilient it is. I won't be drinking throughout this pregnancy, partly because of worries of FAS and partly because alcohol makes me really tired anyway! But each woman has the right to make her own decisions and long may that continue!!

ExpatAl Sun 10-Feb-13 16:25:34

I wasn't asking a question leBFG. I was using it as an example. I know that cafe was talking about FAS, as was I.

ExpatAl Sun 10-Feb-13 16:55:05

Sorry BFG, I sounded really up my own arse there.

LeBFG Sun 10-Feb-13 18:12:45

That's OK Expat smile. I didn't take it that way.

WeAreEternal Sun 10-Feb-13 18:24:43

I had no idea I was pregnant unil I was 19 weeks, and while I was not. Big drinker I did get drunk every other weekend or so.

After I found out I was pregnant I drank occasionally but not excessively, more in late pregnancy, and only the odd glass of wine and I don't think it did me or DS any harm, although if I had known I was pregnant earlier I wouldn't have drank at all in early pregnancy.
In my next pregnancy I don't think I will drink at all, but my lifestyle has change and I hardly drink at all anyway.

JenaiMorris Sun 10-Feb-13 18:25:51

I think it's more valuable if women have information about how and why something is best avoided, rather than simply saying x is bad.

I don't think people take listeriosis seriously enough for example. The same person who'd be full of outrage at a woman smoking one cigarette might think scoffing some blue cheese is a naughty indulgence - I've seen this a few times on MN.

JenaiMorris: the reason most sensible people don't get their undies in a bundle about listeriosis is because it's really fucking rare. How many times have you had it?

As to that other stuff about cell death waaa waaa waa - lots of women drink when they don't know they are pregnant. And their babies are not all born with three feet and no eyes, so once again this is a risk not a certainty, and once again if you take that sort of scaremongering shit literally it will be all of a sudden illegal for women of childbearing age to drink alcohol in case they are pregnant.

Oh and just for clarification further upthread - I do believe that women should have the right to terminate a pregnancy right up till the moment of birth. Because women should be in charge of their own bodies and answerable to no one else.

JenaiMorris Mon 11-Feb-13 04:16:01

I have no idea if I've ever had listeriosis. Unless your immunity is compromised the chances are you wouldn't know you have it. And yes it's rare but the consequences are bloody awful.

I agree with your final paragraph and share your fears in the first.

JenaiMorris Mon 11-Feb-13 04:16:29

I mean second. Whatevs.

ExpatAl Mon 11-Feb-13 09:25:44

I do know somebody who had listeriosis. Her baby was stillborn. It was unlucky because it can usually be treated by antibiotics if caught in time with no harm to baby. Your immune system IS compromised when pregnant because it's concentrating on protecting baby.

Babies are new members of a family. They don't just belong to the mother for her to do as she pleases. She's part of a team. I think it's easy to say your last paragraph SGB because how often does a women terminate at term just because she can?

LeBFG Mon 11-Feb-13 09:33:36

It's interesting how advice is given. I can see, in the face of a 1% FAS rate, policy is going to favour simple and easy to understand advice for the poorly educated. There's no point giving out lots of information, subtely nuanced for the educated/concerned parent if the person in front of you doesn't care too much or is too poorly educated to understand the advice being given (i.e. the group most at risk of FAS).

On top of that many educated, concerned parents want simple, easy to follow, unambiguous advice - bit like a diet e.g. DO a, b and c, DON'T do x, y, z. My friend is a uni lecturer, very busy and when pregnant followed the NHS list of advice unquestioningly - she wouldn't even touch my cat or let her son touch her either. She just didn't want to know any facts about toxo. Fair doos - each to their own.

In my last pg, for example, I was riled something rotten when the MW at a group birth prep class wouldn't say one glass of champagne at xmas was just fine - she just stuck to the party line of zero alcohol. Somehow, we wish the HPs would be able to assess who is in front of them and tailor the advice a bit in line with who's doing the asking. But I can see how this is a bit utopian.

ExpatAl: THe number of women who terminate pregnancies late/at term 'just because they can' or for 'social' reasons (ie not medical ones) is vanishingly small. So allowing abortion to term would not actually mean no more babies born ever, or anything...It would be a far greater social good for women to have this right, and not need it (as hardly any of them will) - than for women to die needlessly because some men somewhere think it's up to them to decide whether or not a woman is allowed to control her own body.

And until a baby is actually born, it does belong to the woman and she can do what she likes.

ExpatAl Mon 11-Feb-13 10:08:08

Okay. So if you see a woman with a bump walking down the road with a spliff in one hand, her arm covered in fresh tracks and an open can of strong brew in her hand you think brilliant, a woman doing as she likes?

BangersAndMashh Mon 11-Feb-13 11:04:54

Just come across this thread, and quite frankly some of the things people have come out with are shocking!

I think a lot of people are slightly uneducated about the risks of drinking in pregnancy.

I am currently pregnant and choosr not to drink anything, but I do drink like 2 cups of coffee a day so some might say that is also risky.

SolidGoldBrass how do you know it is men making those decisions? Do you have proof that it isn't a woman making the drinking guidelines?

And the termination stuff should be being discussed on a different thread.

LexyMa Mon 11-Feb-13 15:35:24

SGB, you'll love this (well, you won't, but you'll see what I mean...)

Queensland police union wants risky mothers-to-be locked up

BangersAndMashh Mon 11-Feb-13 15:44:22

I don't like the way people are talking about a baby as if it is a possession! It is a life for goodness sake.

I don't normally like getting involved in ethical debate, but to make out that the unborn child should not have any rights is down right ridiculous imo. I understand everyone is entitled to their view, it just upsets me a great deal to know that people actually think that way sad I can feel my baby wriggling around inside me as we speak, it's a life that I have created, not a possession to be tossed in the trash. But like I said, thats a whooole different thread.

Expat: I'd feel sorry for her because if she's on smack her life is a mess.

Bangers: the worst offenders in taking away women's bodily autonomy and being perfectly willing to let them die rather than terminate pregnancies are always men - the senior members of the catholic church, in particular. ALso, Bangers, your unborn baby may be a person to you and that's fine; a lot of women feel that way. But the contents of other women's wombs are none of your (or anyone else's) business.

JenaiMorris Mon 11-Feb-13 15:53:13

Termination is utterly relevant to any discussion involving a woman's rights over her own body, Bangers.

Expat of course I'm not going to think "go girl". I'd be thinking "there's a woman and a future child with BIG problems".

JenaiMorris Mon 11-Feb-13 15:54:42

There are plenty of women involved in the anti-abortion movement.

ExpatAl Mon 11-Feb-13 16:04:50

So it's only if the woman does something that you feel is okay that you'd defend the right for her to do as she likes? This is just nonsense.

I am entirely pro choice and Ireland and the US (many other countries too) are just a disgrace, but to defend the termination of a baby at term is to defend murder. You'll likely know that the tiny amount of women who do that are deeply disturbed...

Expat: I defend anyone's right to take heroin as our bodies belong to us and no one else, so if we want to be unhealthy or kill ourselves it's up to us. I might not think it's a good thing, but nor is it my business.

And what 'tiny amount of 'deeply disturbed women' seek termination at term (other than in the case of medical emergency)? All anti-abortion activists are woman-hating scum, and this is often demonstrated by their insistence that if it's not illegal to terminate up until the moment of birth, women are so selfish, crazy, frivolous and wicked that they'd all be doing it for silly woman-reasons like not wanting to miss their favourite programme on TV or not liking the colour of the curtains in the hospital.It's important to have the right to bodily autonomy, the right to put your own wishes and needs ahead of a foetus, because you are a person. Most women, of course, choose to prioritize the foetus and to take reasonable care of themselves, but it has to be up to them to decide what happens.

Otherwise, do you really want to live in a world where women can be locked up for being pregnant? Banned from doing all sorts of ordinary things like driving, eating what they fancy, dancing, sports etc, because they might be pregnant? Do you think men and the state really have the right to lock women up or supervise them 24/7 to make sure that they don't endanger their unborn babies or their precious ovaries? DO you really want to live in a world where women are breeding animals rather than humans?

ExpatAl Mon 11-Feb-13 16:19:46

Sorry OP, to hijack your thread, but you did say it was controversial!!

To answer your original question I would have said that the odd drink is okay after the first trimester, but after cafecito's posts I'm not sure that I would risk it. I've also been reading other websites that that are leaning towards no alcohol is much safer because research is getting more and more indepth.

ExpatAl Mon 11-Feb-13 16:23:04

This is obviously something that you really care about SGB. But I'm not on the same wavelength at all and you seem to be just repeating man hating rhetoric endlessly with no particular logic, so I'll leave you to it.

OK - I saw a TV programme on women drinking in pregnancy - it was on some time last year. It highlighted that women were being given different advice, even by people like midwives so there was some confusion.

The academic who had researched the effects of drinking in pregnancy said that although lower amounts of alcohol would not cause full-blown fetal alcohol syndrome, there was some possibility that they could cause more subtle learning difficulties in children.

IIRC, he said that nobody actually knows how much alcohol is safe to drink in pregnancy. Alcohol stays in the baby's blood stream a lot longer than in the adult mother since the baby's liver is not working to break it down and it has to wait until the alcohol is removed via the placenta. He hypothesised that the higher incidence of things like ADHD that we see in children these days may partly be explained by the fact that many more people these day have a glass of wine in an evening, where once they would have had a cup of tea. In places like France where wine drinking has been part of the culture for a lot longer, pregnant women tend to drink just a small amount of wine mixed with water during a meal so were actually consuming a much much lower concentration of alcohol.

He said because nobody could say for certain how much alcohol (if any) was OK, the only totally safe thing to say was that if women did not drink during pregnancy, their baby would not be affected.

The other thing they looked at was although a lot of women thought it was safer to drink alcohol after the first trimester, this just wasn't the case and that actually some of the bad effects were caused by drinking in the third trimester because of how that related to the baby's brain development!

I can't find any links to the programme I saw but this article seems to be saying that people with particular gene variants may have babies that are more susceptible to alcohol damage in utero.

Before I saw the programme I thought that avoiding alcohol completely in pregnancy was totally over the top, but the programme really changed my mind. I wouldn't risk it myself now!

this is the summary of the research done by the Universities of Oxford and Bristol that is referred to in the news link above

BangersAndMashh Mon 11-Feb-13 18:42:34

There is a lot of man-hatng going on here! Wow! Still shocked at the thought that it should be a woman's right to terminate right up to term - that baby is already a human being before they are born - they don't suddenly turn into a baby as they come down the birth canal...

The logic behind some of the things being said horrifies me! Like I said before, people are entitled to believe what they wish, but when that involves meddling with an actual life, well I'm not so sure.

5madthings Mon 11-Feb-13 18:49:42

Woman already have the right to terminate up to term if their lufe is at risk or if the baby is found to have a life limiting condition such as downs syndrome or other conjenital abnormality

This is disabilist imo. If we have abortion to term for a disabled baby then iy should be for all. And yrs i think womem should have that control. Fgs women wont have late term abortions lightly.

BangersAndMashh Mon 11-Feb-13 18:57:46

I know it is legal to terminate up to full term in exceptional circumstances, what I'm saying is, the thought of it being a woman's right to terminate up to full term just because they don't want the baby (which is what someone has said should be the case) utterly shocking! No one should have the right to murder, which is what that is in my eyes.

This is why I don't like being involved in ethical debates, especially when I am new to a site, but I do feel strongly about this. But I do also think we have all deviated away from the original question!

5madthings Mon 11-Feb-13 19:12:55

But its ok to 'murder' a disabled baby then? They are both human babies with equal value. Either we should be able to terminate any baby up to tetm or none at all. And yes i do think women shoukd have that right. But i dont think many women woukd have a late term abortion simply because they decided at a late stage they didnt want a baby anymore. A woman that puts herself through a late stage termination will have reason to do so.

5madthings Mon 11-Feb-13 19:15:29

And re drinking i didnt realky drink in preg as the smell of alcohol made me feel nauseous but i dont think the odd drink is a problem and the guidlines were ine/two units a week which seemed reasonable. Ulrimately its up to women to di what they feel comfortable with, you dont have to agree with it or do the same yourself. We have bodily autonomy as we shoukd do.

LeBFG Mon 11-Feb-13 19:22:35

Your link educatingarti is the same as the paper I've linked to multiple times on this thread but no one seems to be acknowledging. It is indeed of interest and may change some women's views on drinking during pregnancy (it did so for me too).

I only brought up term abortion on this thread to illustrate the logical conclusion behind the statement that a fetus has no rights.....which everyone seemed to be in agreement with. SGB's case rests on bodily autonomy and complete respect of the woman's rights at the expense of any putative rights of the fetus. However, I think she is mixing this up with health advice that is given. No one is being obliged or compelled or forced to do anything wrt drinking. I don't think it helps to think of women's or fetal rights in the context of prenatal care.

BangersAndMashh Mon 11-Feb-13 19:25:24

I didn't say anything about it being different for disabled babies. So I would appreciate it if you refrained from putting words in my mouth.

My views on abortion have nothing to do with my views on drinking during pregnancy. And this thread is supposed to be addressing that.

I'm not sure that talking about "rights" is so helpful here. The op asked about what people thought about drinking in pregnancy. I'm assuming that the op ( and pretty much all the other posters on here) are talking about pregnancies where the child is wanted and loved and has parents that want to do the best for him/her.

In this case, the most recent evidence seems to be that even low levels of alcohol may cause problems for some babies ( especially with particular genetic markers). In this case, surely it is best to err on the side of caution and not drink at all? Why would you want to risk it?

5madthings Mon 11-Feb-13 19:33:23

You said exceptional circumstances which includes the baby having a disability. Ultimately that means putting a lesser value on the life of a baby wuth a disability. I think thats wrong it should be one rule for all.

Threads can go off on a tangent and then go back to the origional op or not. But there are no thread police we can discuss and go off in various directions if we want to. I was following on from the last few posts.

Actually, what people seem to be forgetting in all this 'waa, bwaa, you mustn't drink at all in pregnancy otherwise you are a selfish cow who doesn't deserve to have babies at all...' - lots and lots of women get pregnant unexpectedly and don't know that they are pregnant for the first month or so. So, logically, if half a white wine spritzer is such a terrible threat to the unborn (which of course it isn't. All that stuff about 'subtle' problems that we 'don't know about yet' is misogynist bullshit - we have no clue what causes a lot of things, we still can't read a gene chart so let's just say that anything which goes wrong must be the fault of the mother.) then women of childbearing age should be forbidden alcohol. Which would not be reasonable at all given that not all women have children or want them, not all women are fertile at all, and even those who do become mothers spend, on the whole, only a very small proportion of their lives being pregnant.

THe other thing about supporting abortion on demand to term is that it is the only logical position if you support freedom of choice. I pretty much despise the sort of people who say that abortion is 'acceptable' when the pregnancy is the result of rape, for instance. Because rape is not the foetus' fault, is it? Yet people think it's OK to terminate in that case, but not if the woman enjoyed or consented to the incident of PIV that caused the pregnancy. How is that anything other than woman-hating?

BangersAndMashh Mon 11-Feb-13 19:51:27

There are some seriously misguided and rude people on here.

And SGB you are talking about extremism here, and there is extremism in every single ethical matter, it is not all as black and white as you make out.

5madthings Mon 11-Feb-13 20:40:00

You gave your views on abortion and I commented on them. I was simply continuing the line the thread was currently taking. As far as I am aware mnet has no rules on how threads go and if they can go off on a tangent. As I said there are no thread police and you discussed the issue yourself.

Ask said re drinking the smell made ms feel sick do I didn't, OK think I may have had the odx half a lager in late pregnancy. Ultimately women need to take advice and make an informed decision. And I believe in bodily autonomy so a woman can drink our have an abortion (for whatever reason) if she so wishes.

BangersAndMashh Mon 11-Feb-13 20:50:30

Nowhere did I mention disability, this is why I said don't put words in my mouth. who are you to decide what I deem to be an exceptional circumstance?

And for the record I do not see disability as an exceptional circumstance. Someone with a disability is still a person - again, whole different thread.

And would you quit with the "thread police..."

5madthings Mon 11-Feb-13 21:02:42

You said its legal to terminate up to term in exceptional circumstances, that includes when the baby has a disability. It may not means your 'exceptional circumstances' but you didnt say that.

You think abortion to term is shocking, I think if you allow it for some babies, you should allow it for all or you are discriminating against the unborn disabled child.

And you were the one complaining about the thread going off the subject of the op yet you continued yge conversation yourself. If you don't like mention if 'thread police' stop acting like one.

These debates always get emotive but ultimately it comes down to individual choice. I won't do lots of things in pregnancy and I font think I could have an abortion but each woman has the right to make her Owen choices and I won't judge because I am not that woman.

BangersAndMashh Mon 11-Feb-13 21:23:20

See this is why threads like this do my head in, you always get a few people who can't have a debate without turning it into an argument and getting personal.

Ultimately if someone is going to drink in their pregnancy, then they are best to stick to just a couple of units once or twice a week. There are always going to be people who don't stick to that, just as there are always going to be people taking drugs, smoking, eating undercooked meat and other risky behaviours. Obviously no one can stop them and that is simply life.

BangersAndMashh Mon 11-Feb-13 21:35:31

5madthings, FWIW I actually argee with that you are saying - that if you agree with full term abortion for some things, you shouldn't discriminate against others. I personally believe that the abortion law is too high as it stands at 24 weeks, so as you can imagine I don't agree with full term termination. However, I do understand why the law stands as it does, but that doesn't mean I agree with it.

5madthings Mon 11-Feb-13 21:43:57

I wasn't trying to make it personal, I was just answering some posts.

I don't think i could have an abortion but for those women that have a late term abortion I don't think its a decision any if them take lightly and so I would never judge.and I do think the current law is disabilist and that is wrong.

BangersAndMashh Mon 11-Feb-13 21:46:53

Yeah I know, sorry - hormones are making me a bitch! Yeah thats what I mean, I understand why it is allowed, and it must be a bloody awful decision to have to make so I would never judge either.

5madthings Mon 11-Feb-13 21:57:39


Teaandflapjacks Tue 12-Feb-13 14:28:13

I followed this read with interest. in response to the original question on alcohol - I am currently about 15 weeks and since I tested positive (3 weeks in) I have not touched any. I live in Germany now, where the current advice they give is none at all - they just don't know why it can affect one person with a small amount, and someone else can have more. They cite the latest research when they give you this advice here, and say, if you must, then a half glass every now and then - i.e. at a special occasion. Much less than once or twice a week. But I certainly don't judge others drinking - many of my friends and sister drank or are drinking small amounts in the pregnancies, they found it relaxed them, they also were healthy eaters and kept their sport up - all important factors. Although I have such bad morning sickness i eat what I can, and the idea of wine makes me feel a bit queasy. To be honest, you can get such good alcohol free beer in germany I make myself an alcohol free 'lager top/shandy' when I fancy a drink and am not praying to the porcelain god! I figure, it's now less than 6 months to go, and getting pregnant was really hard for me, I don't want to do anything, however really minor that may impact the little bean, even if that is just me stressing about it - and this stress has an impact.

Teaandflapjacks Tue 12-Feb-13 14:31:05

Also on the toxiplasmosis, this is always tested as standard in Germany.

DietPregnancyResearcher Mon 22-Jul-13 17:59:03


My name is Vicki and I am a researcher at Oxford Brookes University. I am interested in dietary intake and alcohol consumption during pregnancy. I am currently recruiting pregnant women to take part in a dietary survey. It takes about 20 minutes to complete and you could win £50! Visit the website to take the survey or for more information www.eatingandexpecting.co.uk

Thank you!

DietPregnancyResearcher Mon 22-Jul-13 17:59:25


My name is Vicki and I am a researcher at Oxford Brookes University. I am interested in dietary intake and alcohol consumption during pregnancy. I am currently recruiting pregnant women to take part in a dietary survey. It takes about 20 minutes to complete and you could win £50! Visit the website to take the survey or for more information www.eatingandexpecting.co.uk

Thank you!

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