Should I drink during pregnancy, is probably one of the first questions many mums-to-be ask when they find out they're expecting. I know it's something I've thought about a lot, pre and during pregnancy.
Information and advice out there is conflicting and it seems that everyone has their own opinion (and are happy to share it with you!). It's quite a taboo subject and I feel there's a lot of judgement out there too.
If I'm honest (and if you read my other blog HollyGoesLightly
) I love wine! I mean I really do. It relaxes me, I enjoy it after work to de-stress, I enjoy a bottle with hubby in front of a good film, I enjoy it while catching-up with friends and I love drinking good wine with good food. So when I used to think about falling pregnant and what I'd do, I always assumed that I would have the occasional glass here and there during pregnancy. And I certainly have never judged mums-to-be that do have the occasional glass.
But then I fell pregnant and all the usual anxieties about having a healthy baby came flooding in. I therefore decided pretty quickly that I wouldn't drink at all through my pregnancy. Not for any particular reason at that point, other than I didn't want there to be any reason for our baby to not be 100% healthy. I also knew that if anything were to go wrong, I'd blame myself for having that drink. And in honesty, I don't really see the point in just drinking one glass! I've never really been able to just have one glass, so have found it easier to have none at all.
Then I watched an interesting documentary on BBC about Foetal Alcohol Syndrome
, which made me feel a bit more strongly about not drinking during pregnancy. To cut a long story short, it was a look into why England as a country don't recommend to refrain from drinking during pregnancy, like other European countries do and like the USA and Canada do. Instead, the NHS recommends that if you do drink, it's no more than 1-2 units per week.
But with smoking, we're told 100% not to during pregnancy, so why is it different for drinking alcohol? It seems because medical studies are still fairly limited and I guess as a culture, we like a drink. But this documentary revealed evidence that says that a foetus can suffer adverse affects when the mother drinks and there were adults and children who had been diagnosed with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, which is a direct result of their mothers drinking during pregnancy.
So I found it hard to ignore those facts and although not everyone that has the odd drink during pregnancy damages their baby, drinking does increase the risk of adverse affects on the developing foetus. Personally this is enough for me to avoid it but I think more needs to be done to educate expectant mothers as to the potential dangers of drinking while pregnant, rather than it being the sort of laissez faire approach we have in this country.
If you'd like to know more about FAS, here's an interesting resource from Drink Aware.