Pregnant Women Are Drinking Without Guilt

Michele Zipp

no drinking when pregnantWhile at a party during my pregnancy, one of my friends said while holding a beer in one hand: "That's what I'd miss the most if I got pregnant -- drinking. How do you do it?"

I've never been a heavy drinker (though those who knew me during some dark days in college may laugh at that statement) and I was once even labeled a straight-edge vegetarian. I'm back on the meat.

Drinking was not at the top of my list of things I missed during pregnancy -- my vagina was (though I did crave margaritas). But more and more pregnant women aren't missing the drinks -- they are washing their prenatals down with a cocktail.

Well, maybe not literally. I remember the days of washing down my birth control pill with vodka and thinking that was very wrong, but that's another issue.

Real Housewife Alex McCord told the New York Post that she drank a half a glass of wine here and there during her pregnancies and even toasted some champagne when she was in labor in the article "I'm drinking for two!". The Stir's own April Peveteaux also said that when she was pregnant and vacationing in Ireland she saw the cultural differences over there in terms of drinking when with child. Know this: The Irish aren't refusing to serve a pregnant woman alcohol. I can attest to that. When I was six months pregnant, a waiter from Ireland wanted to serve me a Guinness saying it was the best thing I could drink.

Still, being the worry wort and lightweight that I am, I stuck with my lemonade (hold the vodka). But I also just don't like Guinness and one drink for me is halfway to drunk since I rarely booze it up even when not knocked up. I did toast my anniversary with a glass of wine when I was pregnant. I did not down lychee martinis into the wee hours of the night. Maybe because all that drinking and my unborn twins pushing on my bladder would have made me pee my panties.

That and I'm just responsible like that.

The International Journal of Epidemiology published a study last year that revealed mothers-to-be who had one to two drinks per week weren't putting their unborn children at risk for developing cognitive deficits any more than those who didn't have any alcohol at all. (Good news and good for the moms who feel guilt for drinking that Pinot with dinner.) Yet the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises “no amount of alcohol consumption can be considered safe during pregnancy.”

I can understand why. No one is going to say Go ahead and drink! in writing because then there would be lawsuits blaming the authors when a child is born with fetal alcohol syndrome due to the fact that mom was quenching her thirst with liquor all day. They said I could drink! She'd proclaim in court. Hiccup.

Plus one "rule" shouldn't apply to all. Some people just can't drink. Alcohol does affect people differently. I already had put myself at risk for wearing high heels for most of my pregnancy (up until my feet got so swollen I couldn't fit into my shoes anymore), so I wasn't going to risk anything really bad happening because I decided to have alcohol -- a dehydrating drink that countered all the water I was trying to keep myself hydrated with. But that was my decision. And I don't look down on any woman who wears flats ... or chooses to have a drink now and then.

What do you think? Is it okay to have an occasional drink during pregnancy? Does guilt need a cocktail, too?

Image via arenamontanus/Flickr


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