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Pregnant New Yorkers Booze It Up

From today’s New York Post: “in New York, a growing number of pregnant women are saying, ‘Bottoms up!’”

I’m not sure where they are getting this info — as far as I can tell, this conclusion was drawn based on the very moderate drinking habits of three New York women — but it does sound familiar:

“Tired of the zero-tolerance hysteria — no alcohol, soft cheeses, fish or hair dye — that treats pregnancy like an affliction, they’re embracing a European attitude and indulging in the occasional glass of vino.”

The story suggests that doctors and midwives are feeling a little less uptight about their patients drinking, too. It is routinely suggested, for example, that mom have a glass of wine after an amniocentesis to help her relax. A little wine in early labor is considered a fine idea if mom wants to get some sleep. (The Post reminds us that Real Housewife Alex McCord had some on her way into labor.)

I remember being told that a small glass of wine “at a wedding” or for a “New Year’s Eve party” would be OK. (Funny how it’s always wine and parties for the pregnant ladies. How about a cold beer after a nasty fight with your insane sister? Or a thimble of scotch while watching Keith Olbermann?)

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states, “no amount of alcohol consumption can be considered safe during pregnancy.” But the Post points out, “research has found that light drinking is reasonably safe.” Recently, Rebecca wrote about a study showing that a little alcohol in pregnancy may actually be good for your baby. It may be our most “liked” blog entry to date.

The fact is it’s usually a combination of heavy drinking with the timing of fetal development and the mother’s unique ability to metabolize alcohol that can lead to serious problems. Dr. Randi Hutter Epstein, author of Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth From the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank told the Post,  “The truth is, if you look at who’s born with fetal alcohol syndrome, their mothers were alcoholics — not one drink a week” women.

Epstein, mother of four, goes on to talk about the different attitude in France. “We’d go out to dinner, and the waitress would show me the wine list, and I’d say, ‘I’m pregnant,’ and she’d say, ‘Congrats, what kind of wine do you want?’”

“I’ve been pregnant and given birth in England, and I’ve been pregnant and given birth in New York, and they make you a lot more uptight here,” she adds.

(Incidentally, I just read Get Me Out and highly recommend it.)

It’s true there is so much fear mongering around pregnancy. Take it from someone who scans pregnancy headlines all day long. It can be too much.

If you want that half a glass of wine at a wedding — or a few slugs of sangria to get through your brother-in-law’s interminable Labor Day party — just remember the New York Post, three New York moms, Alex McCord and several medical professionals are on your side.

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