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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?

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: 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...

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

"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.

RememberingMyPFEs Wed 06-Feb-13 13:04:49

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.

SolidGoldBrass Wed 06-Feb-13 14:35:54

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.

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