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Am I drinking too much?

(103 Posts)
fiziwizzle Wed 19-Aug-09 11:27:02

I hope this isn't too contentious. I have taken most of the pregnancy advice with a pinch of salt as I reason, I'm not ill, I'm pregnant (re exercising etc) and also, women have been doing this for thousands of years without avoiding soft cheese/pate/shellfish. So I'm eating nuts, soft boiled eggs and pate and I'm also having a few drinks a week.

I know that a glass of wine (175ml) contains 2 units and so does a pint of beer, and I have either a glass of wine or a pint of beer on 3 - 4 occasions per week. This is more than my MW recommended (1 to 2 units, once to twice per week) but I reason, if 2 units are OK on one day, why are they not OK on the next?

My drink is always with a meal, and on the odd occasion I have had two glasses of wine over a long meal (a few hours).

I think (I hope!) that I'm being sensible here, not sticking rigidly to guidelines but using my common sense. I'm 15+3 and this is my first, so I have no past experience to guide me. I just sometimes lie awake and worry that I may be harming the baby - even though, in my view, the advice about abstaining in pregnancy is scaremongering, and the body is designed to protect the baby above all else.

I suppose I'm asking for someone to put my mind at rest.... Or I may be in for a telling off!

LoveBeingAMummy Wed 19-Aug-09 11:28:32

If you think you may be harming your baby then why do it?

Scorps Wed 19-Aug-09 11:29:06

You are having up to 8 units a week; 4 is the MAX recommended.

Some people think differently; i however, do not see why it is so hard to give up.

3cutedarlings Wed 19-Aug-09 11:34:21

personally yes i think you are drinking to much!! dont understand why you need to drink so much tbh.

could you try the alcohol free stuff?

barleycorn Wed 19-Aug-09 11:36:54

Don't forget, a pint of beer can have more than 2 units in depending on it's strength, it may have almost 4 units in. It's frustrating, all the advice pregnant women get given, sometimes it feels like you can't do or eat anything!

However no-one really knows the 'safe' alcohol limit. It's 9 months of not drinking versus the potential of a lifetime living with the knowledge that you harmed your baby. My sis is an alcohol support worker, and she has been referred pregnant ladies by the GP who weren't getting drunk, but found it impossible to stop having a glass of wine a night. I would also question why it's hard to give up. You're obviously concerned, as you're posting. Maybe worth having a chat with the GP or mw?

thedollshouse Wed 19-Aug-09 11:44:33

If I were you I would cut down to just having a glass of wine or a small beer at the weekend and cut it out during the week.

I gave up drinking when I discovered I was pregnant and I actually feel so much better for it.

In my first pregnancy when I had my son 5 years ago I didn't find out I was pregnant until 8 weeks and had been drinking up until then as I had a false negative and a period. Once I discovered I was pregnant I gave up drinking and felt better overnight. I figure that if I feel healthier it must be doing the baby good as well.

arolf Wed 19-Aug-09 12:12:49

um, saying 'women have been doing this for thousands of years' isn't really relevant - modern scientific methods have shown that there is an enhanced risk to the foetus if you expose it to certain toxins/becteria, which is why the guidelines are in place. There are also far far less toxin-related foetal abnormalities (as opposed to chromosomal) now than there used to be, simply due to women following the advice given based on well done research.

Drinking is a different matter, about which I know a lot less - but as others have said, how hard is it to give up for 9 months, just to cut down on the risk to your baby? what would you do if your baby was in some way damaged, and it was linked to your alcohol consumption? As suggested here though, it's probably best to speak to your midwife, and find out why these guidelines exist, and then decide which you can ignore!

MrsBadger Wed 19-Aug-09 12:18:42

fwiw 0% Cobra is the best alcohol-free beer (Waitrose stock it). In a blind test neither I nor DH could tell the difference between that and normal Cobra.

If you are lying awake worrying then cutting down will ease your stress levels and help you sleep better too.

The other thing that occurs to me is that you, like me, will be pregnant over Christmas and New Year.
If you've got into the habit of thinking 4 pints a week is ok while pregnant, then how much are you going to drink when it comes to letting your hair down at all those parties?

I am allowing myself a glass of wine about once a month (cutting back from more or less a glass a night when not pg) so it feels like more of a treat when we (eg) have friends for dinner or go to a party.

Consider yourself told off! grin

sherby Wed 19-Aug-09 12:26:38

I know a boy at DD's pre-school who had Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and his mum is by no means an alcoholic or thought she was drinking too much whilst pregnant

So no I wouldn't drink whilst pregnant at all

MamazontheDailyMailtakingadump Wed 19-Aug-09 12:32:44

if your worried you may be harming your baby then dont do it.

i dont understand how you can say you think its ok but that you worry?

Roomfor2 Wed 19-Aug-09 12:44:22

The fact that you are questioning it means you think you might be harming your baby - so as others have said, just don't do it.

Don't forget also that the measure of wine you pour yourself at home is often much bigger than you get in a pub, so could be more units than you think...

Why not just limit it to 1 small glass 1 night a week on the weekend as a treat if you must do it at all?

I would also take the advice re soft cheese, eggs and pate. It is there for a reason and based on extensive research and experience. Yes, women have been eating it for years, but they have also been losing/damaging their babies and dying during childbirth for years. These guidelines are there for your and your babies safety, not just to make your life difficult.

ginhag Wed 19-Aug-09 12:49:19

fiz readthis article it may give you some reassurance.

It may be of interest to others too...

Roomfor2 Wed 19-Aug-09 12:49:23

or even baby's safety grin

ZacharyQuack Wed 19-Aug-09 12:49:27

In New Zealand the guideline is no alcohol at all when pregnant. There is no known "safe" level of alcohol, and even a small amount has been linked with FASD.

There was an article in NZ newspaper today.

JRocks Wed 19-Aug-09 12:53:30

Would just like to second the Cobra Zero, it's really quite yummy.

Agree with others, why not just knock it on the head completely, then you've nothing to wrry about have you?

Morloth Wed 19-Aug-09 12:58:59

I think a glass of wine or a beer, or a cocktail here and there is fine but not as a regular thing (though to be honest I follow pretty much the same thinking when I am not pregnant). The amount you are drinking would be a lot for me on a normal basis.

Same for eggs and cheese etc. I don't actively seek them out, but I am not actually avoiding either.

If you can't give up alcohol for any reason then you have a problem.

Roomfor2 Wed 19-Aug-09 13:00:28

Will you also choose to ignore the advice about avoiding cot death? Or decide to feed your baby cow's milk and strawberries from day 1? That is also advice that is there to prevent unnecessary illness and food intolerance in your child, not just rules designed to p!ss you off!

didoreth Wed 19-Aug-09 13:24:43

I didn't give up alcohol. I don't have a 'problem', I just really like beer and wine (Cobra Zero tastes like washing up liquid). I probably averaged about half a pint or a smallish glass every other day throughout my pregnancy. There is no evidence that this level of drinking can cause harm to a fetus.

Morloth Wed 19-Aug-09 13:43:59

But could you have given up drinking if you wanted to didoreth? If yes, then no problem if no then there definitely is an issue.

As I said I haven't "given" up anything either because I think a little of this and a little of that is the way forward.

Roomfor2, not sure if that question was for me but I listen to all medical advice, take into account advice from my mother and MIL and then DH and I make our own decisions on all things pregnancy/parenting related. Sometimes that decision is not what is "recommended" but it is our decision to make with all of the available facts.

dal21 Wed 19-Aug-09 13:49:58

OP - honestly. I am shock at the amount you are drinking. IMO it is way too much whilst pregnant.

Everything you eat/ drink, enters your bloodstream and hence enters your placenta and hence goes to your baby.

Yes there are differing levels of advice around this; but that doesnt mean that you should disregard it totally and make up your own rules! Which is what you are doing.

Sorry - I may sound very harsh, but you asked the question and your blase seeming attitude towards this makes me angry. You either sound as though you have a problem with abstaining from alcohol or on the flip side are totally selfish. You are only pregnant for another 5 months or so, in the big scheme of things it that really such an intolerable time to avoid/ minimise intake of something that is bad for your baby?

I hope you plan to give birth at home without any intervention and pain relief, because that also is what women did for centuries. Forget that modern science has reduced death rates in mothers and babies through their advancements....just go for it!

Roomfor2 Wed 19-Aug-09 14:06:12

Morloth - my Q was to the OP - apologies for not making that clear.

MrsBadger Wed 19-Aug-09 14:26:56

(NB dal21 I think that might be a bad comparison - I for one hope to give birth at home without intervention or pain relief precisely because it's what women with uncomplicated pregnancies have been doing for thousands of years.
I don't, however, plan on refusing medical help if I or the baby need it, biting the umbilical cord, eating the placenta, or going to sleep in a cave afterwards... grin )

arolf Wed 19-Aug-09 14:37:00

it's not that bad a comparison - the point is that we now have the option to use a hospital and pain relief/interventions - back in ye olden days they did not have those options, hence lots of women and babies lost their lives, or were left permanently damaged by the birth.

likewise we now have information which can help us to make decisions about risk factors during pregnancy. FAS is rare, unless the mother is a raging alcoholic, but it is still a risk. Yes, there are other risks which we can't do much about - like traffic accidents, attacks in the street, etc, but I prefer being able to remove as many preventable risks as possible from my life, especially whilst pregnant. It doesn't guarantee that my baby will be 'perfect' when he's born, but I know that anything that is worng with him will NOT be down to my actions or inactions. that's all.

Miia Wed 19-Aug-09 14:37:32

fiziwizzle, first of all re: pate and cheeses, the main issue is that if you do get listeria etc, it is actually pretty nasty in pregnancy and much more difficult to overcome than normally.

^The bacterium is a very invasive once it gets into the body. It lives inside cells, rather than remaining outside like many of the bacteria that cause food poisoning. It can spread through the body and is attracted to the nervous system. Its high death rate of around a quarter of people who become severely infected is due to the meningitis that it causes. It is also able to cross the placenta of pregnant women, which is why it is so dangerous in pregnancy. The Listeria infection in the mother passes directly into the bloodstream of her unborn baby and the foetus becomes massively infected and often dies. A spontaneous miscarriage then takes place.^

And what it comes to drinking, I am afraid that is way too much. I'd save up for a special treat and choose some really nice expensive wine for your one glass per week, one small glass of pub measure is actually two units as far as I know. It's better to be safe than sorry and yes, I am afraid giving up things sucks but it is not forever, thank god.

LittleMissBliss Wed 19-Aug-09 14:41:21

I think you are drinking way too much whilst pregnant. Its only 9 months of your life. Just stop for that short period. I don't drink that much when not pregnant.

If you are worrying about it i think you know deep down that what you are doing isn't great for your baby.

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