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Alcohol and pregnancy, how much is too much?

(63 Posts)
bmm39 Thu 08-Sep-11 17:43:42

I have heard so many mixed views/opinions from expectant mothers, mothers and professionals re: alcohol and pregnancy. Was interested in other peoples view of alcohol during pregnancy. I am talking about minimal consumption not get getting completely blind drunk. I had one glass of wine when I was 14 weeks pregnant, is that so bad?

Ellypoo Thu 08-Sep-11 17:50:38

I don't think so!
Personally, I am having 1-2 v small glasses of red wine each week (weekend treats!!) - by v small, I mean approx half a small glass, and didn't have anything at all until about 15 wks.
I don't think at that level it will do baby any harm at all, in fact there are proven health benefits associated with small quantities of red wine.
I don't feel remotely guilty - my Mum (and many others of her generation) drank all the way through her pregnancies without any ill-effects. Obviously, I'm not saying that this is right, but very small amounts on occasions aren't going to cause any damage, and are in line with the BMA guidelines too.

RickGhastley Thu 08-Sep-11 17:51:53

It's really hard to know what's right isn't it? I don't think 1 glass is bad at all!

I'm PG and not drinking at all, not sure why, think it's just that I've had 1 m/c and now a crap problematic pregnancy and I don't need any extra worry.

Although I did think I was miscarrying at about 7 weeks and had 2 glasses of red wine and some painkillers blush which was what my lovely Dr "prescribed" when I was having my previous m/c!

Didn't drink when PG with DS until the 3rd trimester when I had a glass on my birthday, Xmas and NY's eve.

RickGhastley Thu 08-Sep-11 17:53:29

Oh and when my Mum was PG with me she was told by her Dr to have half a Guinness or Stout every night as she was anaemic!

Never did me any harm [hic] wine

spannermary Thu 08-Sep-11 17:54:31

I've heard 1-2 units, 1-2 times a week is perfectly acceptable. So no, there's no problem with a glass of wine now & then. I believe that no alcohol is the recommendation because it's a lot more straightforward than getting into discussing units, and because some women were misinterpreting it & drinking too much. My worry is that I didn't find out till 7 weeks (I had a negative test at 4 weeksish and then a 'period' which must have been implantation) so I was drinking - and it was our wedding anniversary. Nothing I can do about it now, but haven't had booze since. Or liver, a sauna, etc - also a part of the anniversary celebrations. Hmm. Not thrilled.

LaWeasel Thu 08-Sep-11 17:56:04

There is no evidence to suggest genuinely low levels of drinking (for eg, 1-2 units a week, and possibly more!) have any affect whatsoever on anything.

kat2504 Thu 08-Sep-11 17:57:28

One single glass on one occasion will not have done any harm.
Regular drinking may be harmful, regular drinking at a high level is dangerous.

The guidelines are that if you do choose to drink, restrict it to one or two units, once or twice a week. Essentially that means two small glasses of wine per week but not at the same time (as most wine has up to 2 units per small to medium glass), or a couple of half pints of beer a week. There is no guaranteed safe limit of course, but having one drink now and then has not been shown to be harmful.

bigmacandhappymeal Thu 08-Sep-11 17:58:55

It is hard isn't it...

I've been having the odd lager-shandy (about once a fortnight) and have had a glass of wine but the heartburn was too punishing afterwards. I've also been to weddings and had a glass of sparkle.

rick like you I had a MC and have been cautious, even though there's no link (i think) but the main reason I haven't been drinking more is because I really don't fancy it. If I did, I'd have some. And by more I don't mean loads!

kat2504 Thu 08-Sep-11 18:02:47

I had a taste of red wine last night and I didn't even finish the half glass I have entirely gone off it.

LaWeasel Thu 08-Sep-11 18:16:00

Yes, sadly, in both pregnancies I have utterly gone off alcohol. I think I have had one single drink in 25weeks this time. With DD I drank quite a lot before I knew, but everything tasted odd and overly sweet/not nice. I couldn't work out why!

IssyStark Thu 08-Sep-11 20:57:59

The Royal College of Obs & Gynae, Royal College of Midwives and, until a couple of years ago when they decided pregnant women were to stupid to understand a simple rubrick, the Dept of Health agreed that 1-2 units, once or twice a week does not give any risk.

I remember listening to Women's Hour around the time the DoH made the change and one of the experts stated that actually the evidence for twice the recommended amount was still risk free. You have to drink a lot regularly to put the baby at risk of FAS.

I look forward a glass of good wine or a nice brandy as a weekend treat, athough when on holiday recently I did end up having half an real ale every second day which is hitting around twice the recommended amount, but as it isn't smething I've done all through the pregnacy (and I basically avoided alcohol in the first trimester), I'm not worried.

hairylights Thu 08-Sep-11 22:26:17

I'm not drinking at all.

Substitute smoking for drinking in your question - is it Ny different? It's a toxin that will go into your body.

Is nine months that long?

Is one or two glasses of wine a week really worth having per week?

toddlerama Thu 08-Sep-11 22:42:25

I'm with hairylights. Why bother? If it needs restricting, it's because it's toxic. 9 months is nothing really.

LaWeasel Thu 08-Sep-11 22:47:26

No, actually. That's not how it works. Alcohol is only toxic in reasonably large quantities, like, for eg, vitamin A.

A few units a week being totally safe is very well researched.

Moomin1000 Thu 08-Sep-11 23:08:50

How do you choose Godparents?
What did you consider?
Thanks :-) xx

spookshowangellovesit Thu 08-Sep-11 23:41:36

i am of the opinion that not getting shit faced is the way forward, its my 30th birthday i have had 3 bucksfizzs i dont think thats going to cause any harm to any body.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Fri 09-Sep-11 06:16:55

thank you laweasle.

Evidence to back up your puritanical scare mongering hairy and toddlerama? Or is evidence not really required cause women should not be allowed to make decisions about their own bodies, being too daft and all?

Will you be avoiding cafeine, deoderants, teflon, electricity pylons, any new plastics/paint etc that release voc's etc etc...all of which are postulated (with varying degrees of evidence) to be "toxic"? Oh...and ultrasounds?

Maybe not as there's no moralistic brownie points to gain from them is there?

You can avoid what you want but no need to patronisingly point out how long a pregnancy is. Thanks.

crazyhead Fri 09-Sep-11 07:45:35

People get emotional about this stuff!

I'm 31 weeks, and in most ways I've been pretty healthy, I walk miles a day and eat very well. But I do very often have a glass of wine a week, and I have had two some weeks.

People talk about 'no evidence of a lower limit' and all that - but there are so many studies of it that it is actually a pretty well researched area. I mean, is there a definitive risk of a lower limit for anything?

To be honest, I also sort of suspect that the odd cigarette along with a glass of wine might be healthier for a baby than eating absolute junk all pregnancy, say ... and while I don't smoke, I do walk a lot in areas with heavy traffic, so I'm sure I've inhaled plenty of fumes ....

I don't mean to sound blase, and we've all got our levels of risk we'll take. I also understand how if you've had a miscarriage, you just want to avoid anything that could make you blame yourself if it happened again, however improbable - I'd prob be the same.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Fri 09-Sep-11 08:03:14

prob depends on which pregnancy this is for you! With DS I didn't find out I was pg until 8weeks, got my +ve result on an almighty sambucca hangover and had had a fair few boozy nights in the run up to it. Then stopped alcohol apart from one glass of champagne at 15 weeks until 3rd trimester when I had half a glass of wine once a week.

This time I found out at 4weeks, drank nothing until 13weeks, since then have had some weeks where I've had nothing and some weeks where whoops have had three or four days in a row with a glass of wine - probably cos I keep forgetting about it and am dealing with a screaming potty training toddler. This time I am also drinking caffeine in small quantities (cut it out totally last time). In fact I've only really avoided raw meat and fish, anything else that could give me food poisoning, and stuff like liver with its Vit A.

Up to you, personal choices and all that and of course understand if you've miscarried before you'd be more wary

zazizoma Fri 09-Sep-11 08:30:59

Good morning, I spent some time with friends in Rome during my first alcohol-free pregnancy, and was chastened to learn that Italian friend (doctor) eight months along shared a bottle of wine with family over dinner nightly and enjoyed about six espressos daily, and three lovely healthy children to boot. Go figure.

That said, I find myself completely off alcohol during first trimester (can't stand the sight of most things) but moving into second and third enjoy the wine, and actually crave the lager.

fortyplus Fri 09-Sep-11 08:37:21

Hairylights and toddlerama - I'd avoid venturing outside during rush hour if I were you - Carbon Monoxide is a deadly poison you idiots

whizzyrocket Fri 09-Sep-11 08:51:46

Well said zazizoma! The chances of doing any damage at all with one, or dare I say it, TWO glasses are infinitesimally small. Drinking sensibly but regularly is part of many cultures and they are hardly over-run with mutant babies!

I think the advice used to be not to drink because our drinking culture is often one that tests the limits of what a human being can stand let alone a baby. They didn't trust certain sections of society not to see being allowed alcohol as a green light to drink until they were sick.

I would say don't beat yourself up over the odd glass. You and your baby will be fine. Personally I don't drink much normally, but I have half a glass of something a couple of nights a week. I find that by the time I get to the other half of the glass I don't want it anyway and hand it to my husband- always glad to polish off the other half of a beer!

kat2504 Fri 09-Sep-11 08:56:19

Ah there's no need to let this get nasty. Everyone has their own choices to make. Some are naturally more cautious than others, either because they are justifiably worried, or because they have had to go through pregnancy loss in the past.
My mum let me ride my bike with no helmet on it and I'm still alive. That doesn't mean that now that times have changed, people should let their kids go round with no cycle helmet on.
Caffeine has been proven to increase risks at high doses. Some people choose to avoid it completely, some choose to have just one or two cups of coffee. Some may have loads, and they may well have healthy babies.

Pregnancy makes us all nervous, and rightly so because we are all concerned about the safety and well being of the unborn child. Our baby.

I choose to have the odd small occasional drink because I think at that level, and with food, it will be harmless. I am not necking half a bottle, but a small half glass. I choose to have a cup of tea a day because I enjoy it. Frankly I am stressed out enough about the pregnancy without adding to my stress. On the other hand I would never dream of smoking at all whilst pregnant.

everyone has to decide for themselves, and tbh, unless someone is drinking double vodkas everyday and taking crack cocaine on the weekends, we should nicely let each other get on with it. It's like all those little food rules that we have been given, which mean that women up and down the country are fretting themselves silly over cheese and eggs. I wouldn't dream of calling someone an idiot just because they chose to avoid soft boiled eggs. Even though I personally think it is unnecessary as hens in this country are vaccinated against salmonella.

MultipleSoManyPapercuts Fri 09-Sep-11 08:59:36

I find it easier just to cut it out completely, especially as I've gone off wine anyway.

Beer, on the other hand, I can't get enough of, but have been drinking the Becks blue so I don't have to worry about it.

I think one or two glasses a week is fine, I just don't bother with it

toddlerama Fri 09-Sep-11 09:21:43

So choosing not to drink alcohol in pregnancy makes me an "idiot"? Strong words.

I actually find that a whole glass of wine makes me vomit whether I'm pregnant or not, so my view that is toxic to me stands, however I accept that this is personal and rare. I worded it badly. I wonder if I actually have an allergy...

Calling me an idiot for my choices whilst berating 'the establishment' for treating women as though they can't make a choice is one of the more vapid arguments I have read on here.

Wasn't trying to be patronising, but if you are enjoying yourselves with the vitriol, carry on.

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