Is any drinking during pregnancy safe?
What I found most interesting about this one is that everyone can agree that a lot of alcohol is bad during pregnancy (I suppose it’s bad all the time but we’ve all had our piss ups) but whether a drink here and there is detrimental differs.
Generally, in North America, they take the stand that a lot is bad and we don’t know what the tipping point is so stay away from it. Whereas, in Europe, they seem to say a drink or two here and there should be fine but don’t get hosed.
I also found it very interesting that many blogs had hysterical women asking if they’ve done damage to their baby because they drank before they knew they were pregnant (hey, that’s how most of us got pregnant so who are we kidding?) and many ‘experts’ said they would be fine but not to drink anymore. So, in North America anyway, if you drink without knowing you should be fine but if you know you’re pregnant and drink you’re putting your baby in harm's way.
Is that a fart or do I smell judgment?
I also found this article very interesting. The author wrote a book that everyone went batshit crazy over because she cited some studies that point to moderate alcohol consumption during pregnancy being fine. Frankly, I find it a little offensive that these critics don’t think I’m bright enough to distinguish between a glass of wine at dinner and a 40 of vodka before lunch. Yep, there are people with problems (see note below) but I don’t think it’s helpful to paint the issue with a large “just don’t” brush either.
Do You Have to Pump and Dump?
As for breastfeeding and alcohol, drinking while breastfeeding does reduce milk production despite the popular wives tale that it increases it. Babies actually like the taste of milk with traces of booze in it so they suck longer which gives the impression that they are eating more when, in fact, they are actually getting an ounce less.
Alcohol does get into your milk, however, once study tested a legally drunk woman’s breastmilk and estimated that her baby’s blood alcohol level would be 0.006% (somewhere between .08% and .10% is legally drunk in most states) so your baby could operate heavy machinery no problem.
Whether this small amount has any effect is still up for debate.
One study showed a drink a day produced slightly lower motor development at 12 months of age, and another study showed that the more mom drank, the higher their children scored in general intelligence, motor development, and personal-social development at 18 months. No one has studied getting shitfaced every day and breastfeeding but I would suspect that would have other parenting implications and would skew the results.
Generally speaking, if you have a drink, it should diffuse out of your body, and your milk, in about 2 hours, depending on your weight (less time if you’re heavier, more time if you’re lighter) so there’s no need to pump and dump. Plus, it looks like even if you’re loaded, only trace amounts are getting to your baby.
Just don’t drop the kid on its head because you’ve been doing keg stands all night. No one wants to read that Trainspotting headline for crying out loud.
If I got pregnant again, I think I’d move to Europe and have my glass of wine with an assortment of cheese and laugh at the tourists wearing fanny packs.
search: alcohol pregnancy, drinking while pregnant, alcohol damaging fetus
Note: Binge drinking and excessive drinking (six or more units a day) will fuck your baby up – sorry, I have no better way to phrase that. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a preventable birth defect and if you think you have a problem you should talk to your doctor (I know, it feels shitty to walk in all pregnant and tell someone you have an alcohol problem, but it’s something you need to take care of and they will be able to quickly point you in the right direction. Hey, these are people that deal with anal fissures, you can’t say or show them anything they haven’t seen 100 times so don’t worry about it.) Here’s a link to a site that has some good direction as well.