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Worried about how much pg friend is drinking

(46 Posts)
justjuanmorebeer Sun 07-Aug-16 09:25:26

My best friend is expecting her second child.

She is currently 22 weeks.

Since she found out she went to various events in the first trimester where she drank more than a couple of glasses of prosecco at each, accepted a new job so invited me round for a drink to celebrate etc. Definitely had two glasses then.

I don't know for sure but I'd estimate that she is having a couple of units a few times a week. She recently visited Italy and had wine with her meals each night.

As I have no idea what the amounts she is having are, I am not here to debate 'safe' levels etc. I am more worried about her attitude to alcohol and that she simply can't abstain.

More than once I have been round and said no thank you I'll have a tea as she is pg and I was dieting but she insisted on opening a bottle so that she could have a glass. Making out we always have something to 'celebrate'.

She has always drank a lot. They entertain at home all the time. Should I say something? Do something? I think she has a drinking problem.

ButteredToastAndStrawberryJam Sun 07-Aug-16 09:29:50

Unfortunately there's nothing you can.

Buggers Sun 07-Aug-16 09:32:50

I wouldn't say anything, keep an eye on things though.

FruitCider Sun 07-Aug-16 09:33:12

Danish research has indicated up to 10 units of alcohol a week may be safe when pregnant.

When I read the title I thought you meant extreme binge drinking. Not 2 small glasses of wine....

FruitCider Sun 07-Aug-16 09:34:35

I don't know for sure but I'd estimate that she is having a couple of units a few times a week. She recently visited Italy and had wine with her meals each night.

Why are you worried about her attitude and ability to abstain if she is only drinking 6-8 units a week? That sounds like a normal drinking pattern to me.

MephistoMarley Sun 07-Aug-16 09:36:58

6-8 units a week during pregnancy isn't normal levels hmm
Clearly she can't abstain which is worrying in itself but if she's keeping it to 2 units a time the baby will probably be fine. It's probably more of a risk once the baby is born as if she has a dependence on alcohol and isn't reducing her intake due to pregnancy she could spiral.

WhatTheActualFugg Sun 07-Aug-16 09:40:35

Fruit that research is now old and very debatable. But as OP says, that's not the point.

From what you say OP, it does indeed sound like she has a problem - that she can't stop.

There is very little you can do. An addict can't be helped unless they want to be helped.

All I would suggest is just finding the time to say something to her which at least might make her think. Perhaps a jokey 'every time I see you, you have a glass in your hand. Anyone would think you can't stop!'. Say you're surprised she's still drinking when pg. She'll no doubt defend herself and there's no point arguing with her about but I'd at least start the conversation IYSWIM.

I'd also start refusing drinks when with her. Refuse an keep refusing I mean. Not refuse and then be persuaded. If you're genuinely concerned she has a problem, you joining her drinking isn't going to help.

FruitCider Sun 07-Aug-16 09:40:55

The ops friend clearly isn't dependant on alcohol, as she is only drinking 6-8 units a week.

And 6-8 units per week in pregnancy is very normal in some parts of the world.

I worry about women that drink 6 units a day in pregnancy, or even 60 units a day! No need for interference or moral panic here. It's a couple of glasses of wine a week.

justjuanmorebeer Sun 07-Aug-16 09:46:06

See, I kind of thought ok myself but they aren't small glasses really and it is more the attitude to it rather than the amount. The way she rationalises it doesn't sit well with me.

I don't think I will say anything then. But if I do 'keep an eye on it' and it just continues/increases then what do I do then?

ImYourMama Sun 07-Aug-16 09:51:18

You will not be thanked for mentioning this, I'm 21w pregnant and my MIL was horrified to find I'm still eating 'banned' foods. Everyone has their own attitude to risk, and alcohol advise is completely different in every country as well as changing goal posts here regularly. Holiday is a one off, and how do you know she's not completely abstaining when you're not there? Maybe she likes having a drink with you? I save my '1 drink a week' to have socially. I'm afraid to say you're being a bit judgey when you're not with her full time and in France for example her drinking would be completely fine. It's personal attitude to risk

FruitCider Sun 07-Aug-16 09:52:52

Unless she is drinking wine by the gallon do nothing. It's not your place to do something, and won't go down well. Different people have different ways of parenting, right from pregnancy as you have discovered.

ohanami Sun 07-Aug-16 09:53:13

If this is her second child she may have in mind the guidance that's changed over the last couple of years - you used to be told that there's no evidence that drinking 1-2 units once or twice a week was harmful. I think that's changed now to be more cautious, eg there's no evidence that this level isn't harmful, but the evidence base for the recommendation hasn't changed (though I could be mistaken on that- Happy to be corrected if anyone on here knows otherwise).

If she's drinking 6-8 units I'd say that's not a normal level, regardless of the guidelines. Can you have a quiet chat with her dp to see if she really is drinking as much as you think?

ButteredToastAndStrawberryJam Sun 07-Aug-16 09:55:08

Unless she is drinking wine by the gallon do nothing. Then what is OP supposed to do.

Moreisnnogedag Sun 07-Aug-16 09:57:29

Yeah I'd leave well enough alone. Have a chat with her DP?? She's not getting drunk, she's not drinking all the time and it's modest amounts. Whether you think it's acceptable or not is clearly not really relevant.

FusionChefGeoff Sun 07-Aug-16 10:07:08

I'm a recovering alcoholic. With DC1 I was not in recovery yet but I cut down initially and finally stopped drinking at 5 months.

I really recognise her behaviour - I massively pushed the boundaries - oh well 1 glass of wine a week, maybe 2 and of course massive glasses and the occasional 'cheeky' extra for whatever spurious reason I could make up. I also kept justifying it by saying to myself 'well some people don't even know they are pregnant for months and they keep drinking'..!!

However, I spiralled out of control as soon as I'd stopped breastfeeding (which I stopped much sooner than I really wanted to because drinking was more important to me then). Fast forward a year and I was a mess and went to my first AA meeting and I've been in successful recovery ever since.

You are right to be worried but there is nothing you can do. Keep friendly with her but it will be up to her to notice / admit she has a problem. Like me, she'll probably use the fact that she has cut down as 'proof' she hasn't got a problem!! Without recognising that she is drinking waaaaay more than most people who are pregnant.

It's tough to accept but you'll only cause yourself stress and worry. Just be there for her in case she does want to ask for help.

FruitCider Sun 07-Aug-16 10:07:12

Then what is OP supposed to do.

Then there would be safeguarding concerns about the baby and the baby would take priority eg even as a friend I would tell friend she needs to seek help for her drinking and offer to make appt at drug/alcohol service for her. If she didn't then I would have to consider safeguarding alert at social services.

WhatTheActualFugg Sun 07-Aug-16 10:10:58

Well done fusion star

WhatTheActualFugg Sun 07-Aug-16 10:11:12


ButteredToastAndStrawberryJam Sun 07-Aug-16 10:11:29

I can't see SS doing anything before the baby is born but I could be wrong.

FruitCider Sun 07-Aug-16 10:14:12

ButteredToast they do. They really do.

FruitCider Sun 07-Aug-16 10:14:45

Fusion congrats on your sobriety!

DollyBarton Sun 07-Aug-16 10:16:50

Either she has a problem (which is not yet at problem for baby levels) or she has made a decision on acceptable risk and is no more going to spiral out of control than anyone drinking zero. Either way, she's not currently doing anything wrong or illegal so I'd keep my opinion of it to myself.

ButteredToastAndStrawberryJam Sun 07-Aug-16 10:19:10

That's good to know Fruit

Skiptonlass Sun 07-Aug-16 10:20:29

My background is in genetics and development so I have read most of the literature in this field and I am probably qualified to asses it.
I personally drank nothing during pregnancy. The problem with alcohol is that we all metabolise it at different rates. The foetus seems to be differently vulnerable at specific times during gestation. So the same amount of alcohol can cause no issues or serious issues depending on when you drink. There also seems to be considerable variation in how the same amount of alcohol affects different foetuses.
The current best data we have suggests that 1-2 units once or twice a week is safe and that the first trimester is the most vulnerable time. Public health have a difficult task. Women's bodily autonomy needs to be respected (we are not baby vessels) but at the same time, alcohol damage is a big issue.
I know a lot of women who drank during pregnancy (all of whom pressured me to drink too, incidentally.) one has a child I'm pretty sure has some degree of foetal alcohol spectrum damage.
It takes quite a bit of booze to cause actually full blown FAD but there is a range of damage/impairment before that.
The key here is not that she's having a couple of drinks. It's that she's constantly rationalising and pushing it on you do that she can drink, which can indicate a problem.
What can you do? Not much, unfortunately. When she next opens that bottle and insists you have done, say no?

MephistoMarley Sun 07-Aug-16 10:21:03

Drinking at these levels is unlikely to flag up children services referral unless she opens up to her midwife and says she has a problem. This type of drinking doesn't leave signs - she won't be hungover, missing work, smelling of alcohol etc so it won't be noticed. Frankly as well all that could be done would be offering her specialist alcohol support and if she doesn't think she has a problem she wot take it. Keep an eye on things after the baby is born and look out for escalation.

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