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Alcohol during pregnancy

(39 Posts)
Oobis Mon 29-Jun-15 13:26:39

What do you all think about the new guidelines to completely abstain from all alcohol during pregnancy? Apparently, they have gone to zero as the previous guidelines were too complicated....and based on no new evidence. That said, looking at international guidelines, no alcohol whatsoever is the resounding theme...
Just interested in your thoughts. I am in no way condoning binge drinking or seeking to justify my own opinions, just interested in yours.

NickyEds Mon 29-Jun-15 13:51:10

I think telling women to totally abstain during bf (as they seem to do in a lot of countries) is completely unnecessary. I think our guidelines were fine as they were. I think women can be trusted to know that a small glass of wine a fortnight is fine but half a bottle every other day isn't. I haven't drunk at all during either of my pregnancies but mainly because I haven't fancied it but I think if you want a toast at a wedding or a small glass of wine with a meal occasionally you should have one.

SunnyBaudelaire Mon 29-Jun-15 13:53:31

I think it is just another manifestation of the 'nanny state' - of course it is OK to have one small drink now and then in pregnancy. Just that the state have so infantilized us, we can no longer make the decision for ourselves.

batfish Mon 29-Jun-15 13:54:08

I personally have had the occasional drink - I am 26 weeks and have probably had on average 1 per 3 weeks though! If I really really fancy one I have had one. But some people choose to completely abstain and that is fine too.

Oobis Mon 29-Jun-15 14:30:58

Many apologies, I have just seen the Unfit mother thread, which is very long and I shall read tonight when I get home. I appear to have duplicated unintentionally

Appleblossom82 Mon 29-Jun-15 14:35:59

I was going to point you in the direction of my unfit mother thread ;-) diverse opinions on the subject as you can imagine!

MissTwister Mon 29-Jun-15 19:46:12

I was going to say we can't start this again!!

WinterOfOurDiscountTents15 Mon 29-Jun-15 19:57:10

A lot of people who choose to not drink at all (and thats fine for them, whatever they want) feel the need to judge others that choose differently, because they feel threatened in their choices. Same with food restrictions, birth choices, feeding choices, childcare, everything. They think that people making different choices is commenting on their own in a negative way.
Others just like to feel superior, or enjoy the martyrdom.

Everyone should make their own choices and keep their noses out of everyone elses. If I have a glass of wine (and I do, if I feel like it), why should anyone else care? My body, my baby, my choice.

MadauntofA Mon 29-Jun-15 20:10:56

Everyone is free to make their own decisions - they are guidelines only BUT alcohol is THE most damaging thing for a baby's brain. Much much more so than heroin or cocaine - the general consensus on mothers taking drugs whilst pregnant is that they are selfish but with alcohol it is "my body, my choice" I work with several children with FASD, it is truly the worst possible preventable cause of brain damage. And it is true brain damage. They are lovely children but their lives are very difficult, and their families struggle. Most if not all will not achieve full independence. Their mothers were not drinking bottles of vodka every day. The problem is that everyone is different, some will drink more and harm their baby less. The only way of preventing this is to abstain completely. It is not right either to blame the mothers, but education is the way forward. Other countries have seen the light and we need to as well. Rant (on behalf of all those damaged children out there) over.

Appleblossom82 Mon 29-Jun-15 20:18:50

I dont agree thats the only way to prevent FASD sorry mad. A glass of wine a week does not cause FASD.

I agree its terrible. I have cousins with FAS but their mother was an alcoholic and on drugs. Thats a million miles from me and my 1.5 units a week.

MadauntofA Mon 29-Jun-15 20:25:35

The only way to prevent FASD is to recommend that pregnant women abstain from the cause of FASD isn't it??? The problem is the confusion around the advice. Yes most children with severe FASD will have had an alcoholic mother, but most I see have mothers who didn't realise the harm they were doing - that "occasional" drink was not 1.5 units once a week but a "small glass of wine" every other day. We will never get rid of FASD but trying to reduce the number of children who are affected in a milder but still significant way by their mothers who didn't quite realise the effect that alcohol could have can only be a good thing? If you knew that taking paracetamol for a headache had a small chance of harming your baby, would you chance that paracetamol or would you try everything else possible that you knew had no risk?

MadauntofA Mon 29-Jun-15 20:27:50

2 cigarettes/ day probably won't harm your baby like 20 cigarettes/ day so why are pregnant women advised to give up completely?

Appleblossom82 Mon 29-Jun-15 20:37:28

I cant do this debate again sorry!

I understand where you are coming from. FASD is terrible.

All i will say is just because some women are too ignorant or irresponsible to understand what 1-2 units once or twice a week means, that doesnt mean those of us that do understand shouldnt enjoy a harmless drink once a week.

sizethree Mon 29-Jun-15 20:42:46

Everyone has the right to make an informed decision that suits them.
I'm in Scotland and was told at my booking appointment that the recommendation is 0% and I'd already chosen to be tee total as I reckon 9 months isn't long to abstain. BUT I am super anxious in pregnancy, having had three miscarriages, I'd always rather err on the cautious side. I'd love to have had a more relaxed journey.

Junosmum Mon 29-Jun-15 20:56:09

I have to say that it has to be each woman's decision. However I personally choose to totally abstain (with the exception of a sip of OHs beer). I've worked with children for a long time and been on Foetal Alcohol Syndrome training several times and it has honestly scared the sh!t out of me, as there is research to suggest that it is not the volume of alcohol you drink but key times when you drink it, for example it affects vision when you drink it as the eyes are forming etc. Obvs the more you drink the more likely it is to have an effect though!

WinterOfOurDiscountTents15 Mon 29-Jun-15 21:00:25

The only way of preventing this is to abstain completely.

Bullshit. Thats like saying that to prevent car crashes no-one should ever ever drive.
I'm sick of hearing all these anecdotes about children with FASD whose mothers had the odd drink. It't not true. There was a massive study done by the world expert on the subject and he said its nonsense. FASD is caused by heavy drinking and binge drinking, always.

Skiptonlass Tue 30-Jun-15 08:06:56

Two cigarettes a day does harm. Yes, it's a sliding scale and a fifty a day habit is worse than a two a day one, but it' sevruga dangerous to class yourself as a non smoker if you just have one or two a day. One cigarette a week does harm. I hate to be all doom and gloom about it but if you're smoking one or two a day you're still getting the negative effects of elevated blood carbon monoxide along with all the various substances in fags.

I actually think the nhs guidelines on booze are sensible. They are informed by the data we currently have, which is that there are various developmental windows where alcohol is more harmful.

The real problem (as with so many things) is that different bodies react differently to alcohol (and cigarettes)
If you have one copy of the alcohol dehydrogenase gene for example, you're going to metabolise alcohol much more slowly. Couple that with the fact that people vastly underestimate intake - that small glass probably isn't a small glass. 80ml of wine is roughly a unit, when did any of us last see that in a pub?

So the guidelines work on a population level, but your own personal reaction is unlikely to be that of the population average.

I really dislike this move to turn women into passive baby vessels. Give us the data, explain it very clearly, in plain English and let us decide.

Appleblossom82 Tue 30-Jun-15 08:32:31

I know this is the arguement, that people dont know what a unit is. But really is that true? Do people really under estimate how much a unit is? It clearly states on the can or bottle so its not hard to work out/measure a suitable amount.

For wine, its a standard small glass which is 125ml and would be 1.5-2 units.

Nottalotta Tue 30-Jun-15 08:43:19

I haven't drunk alcohol at all during pregnancy, currently 35 + 3. I was a bit of a drinker before (way too much wine....) but stopped the minute i got my bfp. I really don't understand why you wouldn't to be honest, and that's nothing to do with being threatened in my own choices as a pp suggested.

Why would you risk it? Its no hardship to abstain for 9 months is it. --even for me-

Appleblossom82 Tue 30-Jun-15 08:47:04

I guess because i dont believe there is a risk. I think thats they key difference in this issue.

NickyEds Tue 30-Jun-15 09:57:06

I don't believe 1.5 units a week poses any risk at all either Apple. I think when people talk of FASD occurring in women who only drink within the limits either the woman has lied or has no concept of 1-2 units. I simply don't believe any baby has ever been harmed from one small glass of wine a week.
The main reasons I don't bother are 1. The idea made me feel a bit sick at the start. 2. Dp doesn't really drink so opening a bottle to take a little glass out would be wasteful 3. When not pregnant I wouldn't ever have a single small glass I'd have a great big one with my mates! so why start now? It's not really for health reasons.

DimpleHands Tue 30-Jun-15 10:15:53

I think it's a good thing. Doctors don't know what the safe limit is.

I think I drank too much in my first pregnancy - I reckon I had anywhere between 0-8 units per week after the first trimester, which I really regret now (my child has autism (NOT that I am saying alcohol causes autism! But at the back of my mind I do wonder if it had some affect on his brain)). I think I interpreted the rules as "well a bit of alcohol is clearly alright and what's the difference between four units a week and a little bit more".

Plus God knows if I worked out the units correctly - it's very easy to underestimate how many units you're having.

If the guidelines had been "no alcohol", I think I would have had none (which is the approach I am taking in this pregnancy).

I also read this really interesting thing about Thalidomide in the Times the other day. It said something like - if women took it at days 25-30, the baby would have no legs. If women took it at days 30-35, the baby would have no arms. I found it amazing that that could be so precisely pinpointed. Maybe there are certain stages of development in a pregnancy where alcohol could have a really dangerous affect, maybe some stages where it wouldn't? But ultimately, who knows? So why take the risk?

Number3cometome Tue 30-Jun-15 10:17:51

This old chestnut goes on again.

Do what you like, it's your baby.

Personally I haven't touched a drop since finding out I was pregnant, but I don't really care if someone else likes 1-2 units a week, it's not my business.

Nottalotta Tue 30-Jun-15 12:13:46

I guess for me, the issue is that you wouldn't give a baby or child alcohol. So i wouldn't give an unborn child alcohol either...

Appleblossom82 Tue 30-Jun-15 12:32:33

Well i wouldnt give a baby orange juice, coke or chocolate either but i still have those things most days so not sure how that theory stacks up.

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