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Debate This: Women Drinking While Pregnant

The following is a debate between Intern Claire and me. When she wrote her post, Claire didn’t realize it was going to be a debate, but the topic, and the language Claire used, prompted me to share my views, which are, obviously, different than hers.

Claire writes:

A shocking study done by the CDC and featured on Jezebel shows that one out of thirteen women are getting buzzed while pregnant. Even more disturbing, one out of five is getting wasted while pregnant!

I know you’re all probably thinking — as was I — that the women doing this are the reckless young girls accidentally getting pregnant and in dysfunctional relationships. However, the statistics showed that it’s the older, employed women who are more likely to drink during their pregnancy.

It’s truly a shame and alarming that this small percentage of women can’t give up their wine and martinis for nine months to take care of one of the most beautiful miracles of life, their baby.

Wendy writes:

Hey, guess what! I am one of those women who drank while pregnant. I take issue with the language Claire used when she said that 1 in 13 women get “buzzed” while pregnant, though. Neither the article she linked to at Jezebel nor the original source used the word “buzzed,” although in Claire’s defense, Jezebel did title its article: “One Out of Thirteen Pregnant Women Are Boozing It Up,” but that’s sensational journalism for you. The fact is, the CDC found that 1 out of every 13 women it surveyed reported to “drinking” while pregnant, not getting “buzzed.” And that could mean anything, from binge drinking (which is defined as “four or more drinks in about two hours”) to taking a couple sips of a wine.

While all of us, I’m sure, will agree that binge drinking, or even “getting buzzed,” while pregnant is incredibly dangerous and stupid,tons of research suggests that low to moderate prenatal alcohol consumption — defined (not by me) as no more than one drink per day — has no significant effects on a child’s neurological development:

“A large study examined 400,000 women in the U.S., all of whom had consumed alcohol during pregnancy. Not a single case of fetal alcohol syndrome occurred and no adverse effects on children were found when consumption was under 8.5 drinks per week.”


“A review of research studies found that fetal alcohol syndrome only occurs among alcoholics. The evidence is clear that there is no apparent risk to a child when the pregnant woman consumes no more than one drink per day.”

And this:

“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists concluded that “there is no evidence that an occasional drink is harmful. Women who drink heavily throughout pregnancy may have smaller babies with physical and mental handicaps, but women who drink moderately may have babies with no more problems than those women who drink rarely or not at all.”

And, finally:

“The Harvard Women’s Health Watch advises pregnant women that “having more than one alcoholic drink per day puts the fetus at risk for various defects and disabilities.” Thus, it suggests that expectant women should limit themselves to one drink per day. The health publication emphasizes that one drink is 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of spirits or liquor.”

I’m not going to go into the details of what my alcohol intake was while pregnant, but I will say it was closer to a few drinks, total, than the few times a week the cited studies above suggest are OK. I also fall into the category of “college-educated, and older,” a group Claire above was surprised would drink during pregnancy. I am not a delinquent and I am not in a dysfunctional relationship. In fact, I’m very responsible and care very, very much for my baby, both now and while I was pregnant.

So, why did I drink? Why couldn’t I wait nine months to sip my precious wine? I could have, just as people who risk their child’s life by taking them on a plane or on a highway or to Macy’s on Black Friday could forgo those things. But I didn’t believe — nor did my doctors — that the small amount of wine and champagne I enjoyed on a handful of special occasions — past my first trimester — would endanger my unborn baby.

And for me, the psychological and physiological benefits of those few drinks I enjoyed during the course of my pregnancy helped reduce stress and normalize what, for me, often felt like a highly abnormal state of being. And I knew, as I’m sure many of the other “older, college-educated” women who have made similar choices, that the decision to sip some wine while pregnant was just one of endless parenting decisions I’d be making for the rest of my life, all of which would open me to criticism, self-doubt, guilt, and paranoia if I let them. So I didn’t then, and I don’t now. But that isn’t always easy. And it’s something I will have to remind myself over and over, I’m sure, over the course of my parenting journey.

The decisions I made while pregnant — drinking a little wine, not riding a bike, getting prenatal care, flying internationally, working out regularly, taking prenatal vitamins, and binging on three seasons of “Breaking Bad” in two weeks — are not unlike the decisions I made while in labor — I would have gotten an epidural in a heartbeat if there had been time! — and the decisions I have made since my son’s birth — he was circumcised, for example, in a Jewish ceremony — and the decisions I will continue to make as he grows. They are deeply personal, well-thought-out choices — well, the “Breaking Bad” decision wasn’t so much a well-thought-out choice as an involuntary tick I had no control of — and certainly not without controversy. Many people will see the decisions I’ve made and think I’m a terrible mother, just as I might question parenting decisions others have made — matching mom-and-daughter dresses, for one — and know I would do things differently. And that’s OK. That’s just one of the things you deal with when becoming a parent.

Pregnancy provides wonderful lessons in parenthood, and the most important lesson I learned while pregnant is that what matters to me most is not what other people think, but how my decisions sit with me, my immediate family and the people whose advice and insight we’ve sought and trust. So far, they sit just fine.

[via Jezebel and CBSnews]


Comments on this entry are closed.

avatar Amanda July 30, 2012, 1:15 pm

I completely agree with Wendy. Haters will always find a reason to hate on others for being different, whether they are successful/rich/poor/struggling/happy etc. Instead of doing anything constructive to better their lives, these people find self fulfillement in (trying) to tear other people down. It’s a miserable, pathetic existence.

avatar Amanda July 30, 2012, 1:17 pm

Woops typo “self fulfillment”

avatar Jenny July 30, 2012, 1:24 pm

I didn’t drink at all while pregnant with my son. It just didn’t feel right to me. A glass of wine helps relax me, sure, but there are other things I can do to relax. I don’t judge Wendy for having an occasional drink, it just wasn’t something I felt comfortable doing.

avatar rangerchic July 30, 2012, 1:27 pm

I was in the category of “young and irresponsible” when I got pregnant the first time. By the time I found out I was pregnant I had been drunk at least once maybe twice. However, after I found out I didn’t drink at all since at the time it was “no one is ever allowed to drink ever while pregnant” theme going on. But I was actually happy to give it up because I had been drinking way to much anyway.
By the time of my second pregnancy I was more in the “educated” column. I still didn’t drink (I’m not much of a drinker anymore since my first) and I gave up pop and caffeine (I wish that had stuck)
It should be a women’s choice what she chooses while pregnant.
And I agree with the commenter above that people will find something to be judgmental about no matter what.
There are worse things…like smoking which do much more harm than an occasional (or more frequent) glass of wine.

avatar GatorGirl July 30, 2012, 1:31 pm

Wendy I really like your second to last paragraph. You are so right- it is a deeply personal choice- to carry a child, to have a drink here and there, to have a natural birth or have an epidural, circumcise or not, home school vs public school vs private school etc etc etc. What matters most is that you make the right choice for you, your family, your child and that you an educated decision.

avatar GatorGirl July 30, 2012, 1:32 pm

* that you make an educated decision

avatar jlyfsh July 30, 2012, 1:32 pm

i think this is a great example of you just don’t know how you’ll react until you are there. i would say that before my friends started to get pregnant and actually had real conversations with professionals about what is healthy and not healthy to do while pregnant we would have been on the i can’t believe she’s having a glass of wine she’s pregnant side of things. now that we’re experiencing things that we only read, watched, or saw older friends/family going through our opinions are completely different.

i also think this is a great example of how easy it is for women to judge other women, and specifically for moms to judge other moms. until my friends started to become mothers i had never experienced the oh you let your baby cry it out, interesting. or oh you’re only breast feeding for 3 months, i see you’re not worried about building up his immune system comments that come along with parents judging other parents. it’s very interesting. and kind of sad because like wendy said all that matters is your doing the best you can for your family.

and seeing all of these babies as an outside i’m always amazed at how different each baby is. what works for one will never work for another, etc. but people still feel the need/right to judge away about how other people decide to do things.

avatar SweetPeaG July 30, 2012, 2:00 pm

Oh God- I hate the pretentious breast feeding crap. Yes, I think it is wonderful to breast feed. But, no need to shame the women who don’t. We all have our reasons.

avatar Courtney July 30, 2012, 2:07 pm

I agree! I think it’s an issue for each woman to make for herself!

When I see articles/debates like this, it always surprises me. I don’t understand the fascination people have with nit-picking at the details of someone else’s life. (It reminds me of the Toyota commercial where the daughter is on Facebook and says something to the effect of “This is living” while her parents are out mountain biking–a twisted version of reality.) I realize part of that is just inherently our culture — hey why else are People and US Weekly so popular — but I’m always surprised when issues like this one spark a debate.

We all make choices in our lives, some we are proud of and other not so much, but they are ours to make. There’s so much research out there that supports having a few drinks each week isn’t detrimental to the baby’s health, but at the end of the day it’s the mother’s decision. I guess my perspective is just as long as it’s not obviously hurting someone (so not binge drinking in this case) then it’s not really anybody else’s business.

katie katie July 30, 2012, 2:47 pm

they will exist til the end of time… its annoying, but true. hopefully people reading the debate will actually learn something, thats the only good thing you can hope lol..

avatar spark_plug July 30, 2012, 1:40 pm

I personally wouldn’t drink if I were pregnant. I’ve read the articles and studies implying that it is okay… however, there is also so much evidence to the contrary. Even if it does not harm the baby, if there’s even an impossibly small possibility of that happening, my approach to the issue is, why take the risk?

avatar Squid July 31, 2012, 5:42 pm

Life *is* risk. Pretending otherwise is counterproductive. If the risk to your unborn child from a glass of wine was comparable to the risk to your unborn child from a car accident, would you also lock yourself in your house for nine months?

avatar sarolabelle July 30, 2012, 1:43 pm

I don’t think I would drink, eat deli meat, eat caffeine, or probably eat a Tylenol if I were pregnant. But that’s just me.

katie katie July 30, 2012, 2:09 pm

i used to love the pregnant ladies who made it a *thing* to order decaf coffee… decaf coffee still has caffiene in it. its just a very small amount..

its good to be informed about things.

theattack theattack July 30, 2012, 3:09 pm

But even so, it’s less dangerous than regular coffee. I don’t see what’s misinformed about minimizing the risk.

katie katie July 30, 2012, 3:15 pm

no, its not that its a bad thing to try to do good. but i know that these ladies didnt know that they were still ingesting caffiene… its more of that they put on a big show of not having-any-caffiene-because-its-bad-for-the-baby when in reality they were still having some, you know?

avatar AKchic July 30, 2012, 3:28 pm

*laugh* I’m not a big coffee drinker. During my 3rd pregnancy, I craved coffee (and donuts… I swore I was carrying a future cop). I got decaf for one reason and one reason only – so that kid didn’t Hulk-smash his way out of my stomach. Period. I didn’t give two shits about studies on caffeine affecting the fetus. All I cared about was the tiny Tasmanian Devil wreaking havoc on my insides.

LK7889 LK7889 July 30, 2012, 1:51 pm

In Claire’s defense, when you’ve never been pregnant yourself and you’ve always heard that drinking while pregnant is a bad idea, I think that her reaction is to that article is normal. That being said, anyone thinking that way clearly doesn’t have all the information out there on the subject, probably because she hasn’t had the personal need to research it.

famous_blue_raincoat famous_blue_raincoat July 30, 2012, 2:15 pm

I’ve never been pregnant and I knew that a lot of research found that a limited amount of alcohol was fine to consume…but yeah, some people may just have not come across it and have the reaction that Claire did. However, if you’re intending to write an article like this, wouldn’t a certain amount of research into the topic be warranted?

LK7889 LK7889 July 30, 2012, 2:38 pm

Very true. Someone writing on a subject should always do a bit of research before writing the article. Hopefully this is a learning experience for Claire.

avatar cporoski July 30, 2012, 4:23 pm

Just because something won’t hurt a baby is not the same thing as it being good for a baby either.

avatar Riefer July 31, 2012, 1:13 pm

But if it’s neutral to the baby, why not do it if you want to? It sounds like you’re suggesting to only do things that are actively “good” for the baby. Which is crazy, because so many things are neither good or bad. You can’t cut out all your normal activities. All you can do is cut out the ones that you know are bad.

avatar ele4phant July 30, 2012, 4:31 pm

Yes. If there’s anything I’ve learned, its that if you’re a childless person if you want to say ANYTHING about pregnancy/childbirth/parenting, you need to do it with an intense amount of care, thought, and diplomacy, lest you get eaten alive.

Knee jerk reactions and carelessly framed arguments will get you in a heap of trouble with women who HAVE been there, who HAVE put in incredible amounts of time researching and obsessing over the right thing to do for their child. I think women who don’t have children can still participate in conversations on the topic, we just don’t get the luxury of verbally vomiting our first reactions.

avatar SweetPeaG July 30, 2012, 1:58 pm

Interesting information. I guess after that little education, I take no issue with someone having a few sips of champagne or even a small glass of wine once or twice.

It is hard to buck against the whole “YOU MUST NOT HAVE A SINGLE SIP OF ALCOHOL WHILE PREGNANT” rule we have all grown up with. Which is why I don’t fault Claire for getting up in arms, like she did. I’ve always been told you could severely harm your baby if you drink while pregnant. It seems like a risk I personally wouldn’t want to take (and probably won’t). But, the evidence seems to point to having the VERY occasional glass of wine is not a problem.

But, yea… I HATE the Moms judging other Moms thing. This is a little off topic, but something that drives me crazy lately. Moms are screwed either way- stay home with the kids and you can be seen by some as lazy and not contributing to the household income and relying on a man. Go to work and you can be seen by some as letting others raise your kids and caring more about getting material things and money than caring for your offspring. (Most) men never have to deal with these tough decisions. Lucky bastards.

It’s tough out there… so use your logic and compassion (and do some research!) before judging how another woman chooses to care for her child(ren).

avatar Jenny July 30, 2012, 2:04 pm

I just became a Mom 4 months ago, and I have never felt so judged in my entire life. I mean, even things you wouldn’t think I would be judged for — like breastfeeding (some people think its “gross”). A Mom friend of mine actually thinks parents should be arrested if they circumcise their sons. It’s ridiculous. Of course we can’t eliminate judgment altogether, because some people are shitty parents and someone needs to intervene for the safety of the baby. But the majority of the judging that goes on serves no purpose other than making women feel awful.

avatar SweetPeaG July 30, 2012, 2:10 pm

Yikes- this is what I am afraid of! I have seen some of that whole “circumcision should be banned” stuff popping up… what, really?

There is very little in this world that I choose to get up in arms about. I am all about “live and let live”. But, there seems to be a large part of the world that just feels like getting angry about everything.

Geeze, maybe everybody just really needs to have that drink ;-) (I kid… I know alcohol doesn’t solve problems! But, people need to CHILL OUT!)

avatar Jenny July 30, 2012, 2:39 pm

A lot of people see circumcision of male babies on par with female genital mutilation, which I think is pretty absurd.

avatar Riefer July 31, 2012, 1:15 pm

It’s not on par, because what they do to females is absolutely horrific. Far, far beyond anything they do to males. But, it’s true that it’s unnecessary, and you’re taking a choice away from your son. I know guys who are pissed that they are circumcised, because it lessens the sensation that they can have during sex. And there’s no way to ever get that back.

avatar 6napkinburger July 30, 2012, 3:31 pm

As of the last article I read on the topic, Germany actually banned male circumcision, which brings up huge issues of religious freedoms.

MaterialsGirl MaterialsGirl July 30, 2012, 5:01 pm

wow really? Will the Jewish population have to leave the country to perform this then? It seems this unfairly targets the Jewish and some Christian populations. Have you heard about the pro-(male)circumcision campaigns in Africa to help reduce AIDS?

avatar Riefer July 31, 2012, 1:16 pm

The one I read said that just the city of Cologne in Germany banned it, and they did so in response to a baby boy bleeding to death after his circumcision. I believe the general feeling in the country is to reverse that ban, though.

avatar 6napkinburger July 31, 2012, 2:18 pm

I thought I had read that the supreme court in germany had declared it as a human rights violation, like female genital mutilation. I read that they felt it trampled on the bodily integrity of the person as they had no choice; adults could choose to have the procedure but parents were not allowed to choose it for their children.

If someone has a source, I’m happy to be proven wrong (especially as I am just reporting what I read.)

avatar 6napkinburger July 31, 2012, 2:20 pm


I think we’re a little bit both right.

LM LM July 30, 2012, 6:23 pm

Congrats on becoming a mom, Jenny! I personally have 2, one almost 7 year old and an 8 month old. I completely understand about being judged. I had 2 Cesareans, not necessarily out of choice. My milk didn’t come in and when it did, there wasn’t enough to feed either one of the babies, so I had to supplement with formula. I have never felt as ashamed as I did when I had my son… the hospital even refused to give me the formula, even though I couldn’t feed him. They are falling into the “breast is best” thing, which is perfectly fine if the mother’s body can produce. Regardless of that, don’t feel like you’re wrong for doing what you do; you do what you have to for your baby. The health of your baby and YOU is what matters the most.

As far as the alcohol while pregnant thing goes, I had “sampling” sips while pregnant. Enough to taste and definitely not enough to get buzzed. I tried to do what was healthy for my baby and me. I find that most of the people that make the comments are those that have never been in the situation or are just judging. The alcohol consumption during pregnancy education should really be given by which ever health professional the mom-to-be goes with. The other people that want to pass judgement should take a good look in the mirror before they say anything to anyone.

avatar Jenny July 30, 2012, 7:27 pm

Thank you! I also had a Cesarean, which was not what I wished for but ultimately what was needed to deliver my baby safely. That’s awful the hospital treated you that way. I had the opposite experience…they gave my baby formula and I had to tell my nurses multiple times that I wanted to breastfeed. They supplemented with formula while my milk came in, which is absolutely what I wanted them to do…babies need to be fed! I am definitely all for breastfeeding when it is something the mother wants to do and can do, but withholding formula is ridiculous! It’s not poison!

avatar evanscr05 July 30, 2012, 2:07 pm

Add in the whole slew off non-parents judging parents, and parents judging non-parents (those that just are childless, and those that choose to be childless), and I think you’re pretty much damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

avatar Taylor July 30, 2012, 2:59 pm

That’s great advice!! “It’s tough out there… so use your logic and compassion (and do some research!)”. Imagine a world where logic and compassion dictated responses on the interwebs!

avatar MsMisery July 30, 2012, 2:04 pm

8.5 drinks a week (max) while pregnant seems like a lot. Then again, I rarely drink, so that’s a lot for me in any state. I can’t imagine cooking a baby and having a drink a day for the length of the pregnancy. I don’t feel one way or the other about a few sips here and there, though. All my life I’ve read that ALL DRINKING WHILE PREGNANT IS BAD AND HARMFUL so these new studies are going to take some time to sink in for people I think. Also, I won’t be having kids, so along with many other child-centric topics, I may have an opinion but I’ll usually keep it to myself. Even though I have very little faith in humanity, I gotta just let Mother make that determination about how to care for Fetus/Baby.

avatar 6napkinburger July 30, 2012, 3:33 pm

Horrible mental picture alert!!!!!!!!!!!

The image of Ms Misery sipping a glass of wine while cooking a baby on the store, with like an apron on and a wooden spoon. Such unfortunate imagery!

avatar MsMisery July 31, 2012, 1:32 pm

HAHAAA!! I am such a horrible cook, and I am also terrible with children (well, just awkward and uncomfortable), that something like this is not unforseeable. Ladies, don’t let me babysit for you.

avatar Addie Pray July 30, 2012, 2:07 pm

I’d be interested to hear what Claire has to say now? I know it’s easy to read an article and react without considering other points…. Does Wendy’s comment and cited stats change your perspective? In my non-medical opinion, I think doing things in moderation is just fine. Except for maybe doing heroin. (Do you “do” heroin or “take” it? Or “shoot” it? I have no idea.)

My mom drank (like a glass of wine here and there) *and* smoked cigarettes while she was pregnant with me. I turned out ok. Just ok though. I’m only 5’6″, I’m a slow reader, I can’t wink, and I sing like shit. … I blame my mother.

avatar kerrycontrary July 30, 2012, 2:18 pm

I have really bad hand-eye coordination. My sister says its because I was an old egg because my mom was almost 36 when she had me (which isn’t old for a mom now, but it was in the 80s).

avatar Addie Pray July 30, 2012, 2:22 pm

My mom was 36 when she had me too! So fuck, I started off as an old egg that was then buzzed silly with booze and cigarettes. No wonder I can’t do all the things that I cannot do.

Crochet.Ninja Michelle.Lea July 30, 2012, 4:00 pm

heh, my mom was 36 when she had me too! i was about 3 weeks early, and i sort of attributed it to second hand smoke in the house. i was pretty teeny. but, she didnt drink at all, or smoke herself..

avatar Daisy July 31, 2012, 2:10 am

My mom was 36 too! But thinking of myself as an ‘old egg’ is really quite disturbing…!

avatar applescruffs July 30, 2012, 6:44 pm

I was once kidnapped by my (now ex) boyfriend’s mother, his sister-in-law, and her mother. The SIL was going on and on about how her friend was dating this old guy and how they needed to have kids immediately or the kids were going to be all damaged because he was so old. How old was he? 28. I said, wow, my parents were 36 when I was born. SIL said, that’s so dangerous! I never would have waited that long! Blah blah. I said, yeah…if only my mom was younger I could have gotten my doctorate at Harvard instead of just [actual graduate school].

Although I do have a math disability and poor spatial reasoning and bad ankles and knees. So…dammit, Mom!

avatar Addie Pray July 30, 2012, 2:20 pm

I also have weak knees and ankles. That could be because of many many years of hard core soccer. By the way, all you moms out there, do NOT let your kids play soccer. Soccer ruins lives. I personally think it’s better to breatfeed buzzed than let them play soccer. Everybody should listen to me. This is not a debate.

Lili Lili July 30, 2012, 2:32 pm

Speaking of breastfeeding–I was riding the bus after happy hour last week and i saw a mother just whip it out to feed a toddler age child. I felt really awkward and uncomfortable since she didn’t use a modestly blanket and was sitting RIGHT infront of me on the side facing seats while I sat on the fwd facing. I looked down at my dead phone for the majority of the ride. And of course I told my date about this story and he told me about the time magazine cover with the breastfeeding lady and the older child. Its pretty controversial, so don’t look it up at work. Then we talked about attachment parenting and baby birding… good thing I ordered the soup! IDK why but breast feeding in public makes me feel weird. even though I prolly wore a top low cut enough to show the same to a gay bar this weekend-and got tons of compliments ;)

BTW how’s that for a tangent ?!

Caris Caris July 30, 2012, 2:40 pm

Idk over there, but here in Argentina is pretty common to see moms breastfeeding while on the bus. Although I never saw anyone breastfeeding a toddler. Personally I don’t agree with toddler age breast feeding but like you said, it’s a very controversial topic so I won’t say anything else about that.

avatar SweetPeaG July 30, 2012, 2:49 pm

Wouldn’t bother me in the least to see a little baby breastfeeding. A boob is a boob is a boob… and babies have the right to eat when they get hungry. I’d rather see a woman whip out her breast than listen to the baby cry the whole bus ride.

However- And I know I sound like a jerk here- but there is something weird when you see an older kid breastfeeding. If they are old enough to be on solid foods, shouldn’t they be eating solid foods? I mean, I think even cows kick their calves away when they get old enough to eat grass. They are like “Enough already” in their cow language. I do not ever want a 2 or 3 year old hanging off me that way. Ever. But, that’s just me- to each her own.

avatar Addie Pray July 30, 2012, 3:19 pm

When I see boobs whipped out on the bus I catch myself staring, and then I feel awkward… but I try not to mention how awkward I feel b/c I wish women felt more comfortable doing that and I wish other people like me felt more comfortable when women did that, which of course requires more people to feel comfortable breastfeeding, which requires us bystanders to feel more comfortable…. not sure how to get that ball rolling, so I just try not to stare or comment about it. … My favorite thing I’ve read on the “how old is too old to breastfeed” debate is an article that said, basically: who the fuck cares; stop judging women; let’s worry about bigger things, like the lack of paid maternity leave in this country, etc. … Wendy, if you see this and you have a link to that article, will you share? I loved it. I wish I had saved it.

avatar ele4phant July 30, 2012, 4:35 pm


Internally, I get so mad at myself for being uncomfortable by women who whip out a boob with complete confidence. They SHOULD get to feed their children however and whenever they want. We SHOULDN’T feel all weird about it as a society.

But sometimes I do…its awkward. I’m sorry, I’ll try to get better about it.

Lili Lili July 30, 2012, 5:16 pm

I had this same thought later. But I think what bothered me was the fact that the lady wasn’t discreet. I mean, I know i’m wrong for having this awkward-can’t stop staring moment, but personally I don’t want anything hanging out for others–esp men-to ogle at. ESPECIALLY since the bus goes through the shadier parts of town (free ride area is sketchy right Ele4phant?!) But it is up to her and good for her to feed her child.

Crochet.Ninja Michelle.Lea July 30, 2012, 4:02 pm

see, i get that a boob is a boob is a boob. and i dont care if women breastfeed in public, and i think they should be given private rooms at work to pump. however, i would prefer they put a blanket over it all, i for one, dont want to see random boobs. i dont find it overly icky or anything, i just dont want to see it. i also dont want to see random men with their shirts off either. equal opportunity feh to me.

Lili Lili July 30, 2012, 5:18 pm

Agreed! unless i’m at a gay bar. Then I know I’m exposing enough cleavage that could equate to what I saw. And ONLY at gay bars.

katie katie July 30, 2012, 2:42 pm

you can add in gymnastics on the list of terrible sports for children. yikes.

avatar kerrycontrary July 30, 2012, 2:58 pm

I have weak ankles and knees too! I was horrible at soccer…so I did ballet.

Caris Caris July 30, 2012, 2:35 pm

Only 5’6″ ? What do you mean only???? Are you suggesting that if I am 5’4″ I’m short???? D:

avatar Addie Pray July 30, 2012, 3:13 pm

5’4″?! Geez, your mom must have been shitcanned every day of her pregnancy with you. … Or not at all.

avatar GatorGirl July 30, 2012, 3:25 pm

I’m only 5’2″. Must have been all the Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream she ate while pregnant with me.

avatar vizslalvr July 30, 2012, 9:52 pm

I’m only 5’2,” too. And my mom was 36. And my dad was 35. All sorts of “old” ass sperm and eggs up in there.

I do have terrible wrists and a bad back and am really, atrociously bad at math, despite the fact that neither of my parents smoked while my mom was pregnant and I’m (pretty) sure my mom never drank, either. Then again, both of my parents are freakishly good looking now that they’re like 60 – according to my fiance (re: my mom), friends, and in laws (re: thinking my dad was the “hot delivery guy” when he came home with the catered food at my wedding shower and literally asking for the catering company number – ugh ew). So I have those good genes going for me?

Leroy Leroy July 30, 2012, 4:55 pm

My mom got kicked by a horse when pregnant with me, and she smoked, and used lead gasoline, and wore polyester. And I was a forceps delivery because my head was HUGE. I still have marks on my head from the forceps. That’s probably why I’m left handed, because my fwagile baby head was smooshed during delivery. I looked like a baby walrus. But I feel fine now.

avatar Addie Pray July 30, 2012, 5:21 pm

Well that explains some of your comments! I’m kidding, relax. I wonder if I was a forceps baby. I’m going to go call my mom now and ask. So, like, are forcepts not used anymore? When did they stop using them? And shit, my parents drove a car that took lead gasoline too. Add lead gas to my list! I have a picture of me as a baby sitting on my mom’s lap (gasp) in their old mercedes – the “bens” as it was called for years and years. We were poor so I’m not sure why we had a mercedes. Maybe they stole it. Dun dun dun!

Leroy Leroy July 30, 2012, 7:47 pm

You’d know because your mother would never. stop. talking. about. it!

chicotia chicotia July 30, 2012, 10:30 pm

My mom smoked too and I can’t whistle or dive and my ability to snap is questionable.

avatar bethany July 30, 2012, 2:08 pm

I have no strong opinions on what other people do with their kids (born or not), until it affects me personally (Like a crying baby in an R rated movie at 10pm on a Friday).

I see no problem with a glass of wine here or there, and I’m sure I’ll probably do it while pregnant. However, I would only do so in the comfort of my own home, or at a friend or relative’s house. Acceptable or not, there’s just something about a pregnant woman drinking in public that doesn’t sit well with me.

avatar SweetPeaG July 30, 2012, 2:14 pm

I hear what you’re saying.

If I were to be pregnant and just really needed a bit of cold beer… I’d do it at home. Most people don’t have the evidence Wendy cited, so it would just create way too much drama to drink in public while sporting a baby bump. And, I honestly think people would mean well if they made comments to me. I couldn’t really argue with little old ladies who told me not to drink while pregnant.

avatar GatorGirl July 30, 2012, 2:32 pm

I worked as a bartender for a while and one day a VERY pregnant woman came in with (I assume) her husband and ordered a glass of red wine. (I should add I worked at an upscale italian resturants bar.) It was such a strange experience to serve a drink to a pregnant woman (I wasn’t as educated about this subject as I am now) and every other customer judged the heck out of her. So yeah, if I have any drinks it will be in the privacy of my own home.

becboo84 BecBoo84 July 30, 2012, 2:58 pm

Not to get too far off track, but babies with FASD do affect you in the sense that they’re more likely to struggle in life and utilize various forms of public assistance (that are, needless to say, paid for by taxpayers). Not to mention, they’re more likely to end up in foster care, etc. because they can be extremely difficult to care for, and their parents are typically not the best either. Many people don’t realize how severe the affects of FASD can be throughout life.

I allude to it below, but we finally got our 10 year old foster son’s FASD diagnosis, and while there’s no way to be sure, both the psychiatrist who officially diagnosed him and his pediatrician think that a lot of his “problems” (ADHD, social and behavioral issues, coordination issues, etc.) are a result of the alcohol his mother consumed with pregnant with him.

Personally, I think when people are doing things that are dangerous, or potentially dangerous, to their children, we, as a society, should be concerned.

*This is in no way criticism towards Wendy. The occasional glass of wine she mentions consuming is in an entirely different category.

avatar Riefer July 31, 2012, 1:24 pm

I was out with a bunch of friends at a pub, one of whom was very pregnant (about a week away from giving birth). We went to that pub specifically because it had a non-alcoholic beer that she liked, but they were all out. So she was bummed, and the rest of us were telling her to just have a beer. We were all familiar with the studies which say a small amount doesn’t hurt, and her doctor told her the same thing. But she didn’t want to, because of how it would look to other people. Kind of sad that she had to worry about that. :( Anyway, she eventually got one, but she had it served in a glass half full of ice so it looked like ginger ale to anyone watching. :)

On another note, one of my other friends who had a baby recently was told by her doctor that she could drink while breastfeeding. She said it doesn’t come through the milk, so she can have as much as she wants. Maybe there’s a new study on this, I don’t know. Would be nice if it were true! :)

katie katie July 30, 2012, 2:08 pm


this reminds me of my high school biology class and we had to do an egg lab where we had to soak it in different stuff and record how much it gained or lost of the liquid or whatever.. and the last one we did was pure alcohol, and the shell got all soft and bunch of them broke and it was weird and gross… and my teacher was like, and thats why you dont drink during pregnancy. and i remember thinking, …but, im not soaking my baby in pure alcohol. and my baby is not a chicken egg… i just remember being confused. lol.

i think it is interesting to note that the alcoholics are the ones who get fetal alcohol syndrome. that makes a lot of sense to me, because in my mind the alcohol would have to inhibite your own body systems before it would effect the baby.

its nice to see the research suggesting that this is ok, not just for people like wendy who wanted to have a glass of wine or whatever, but also so that pregnant ladies can go out to fancy dinners and not worry about what has alcohol in it. i remember many times having to do special things for pregnant ladies who wanted a specific dessert made without the alcohol. this makes me feel better about being pregnant (god did i just say that. i didnt mean that. i am terrified to be pregnant)

Budj Budj July 30, 2012, 2:09 pm

I would just say that 8.5 drinks a week is very misleading. I would be really nervous that someone would take that and binge drink one night a week rather than spread it out with the one glass per day. They should stick to the one glass per day mantra to not confuse it.

Binging vs spreading it out over the course of the pregnancy I would think would have an affect on the pregnancy or at the very least increase the risk of complications.

katie katie July 30, 2012, 2:15 pm

haha… thats like cheating at weight watchers. you save all your points for friday and binge eat and drink like a crazy person, but your still *technically* only eating your point limits..

very true though.

it would make sense to me that more alcohol you ingest, the higher the chance it would get to the baby and maybe harm it… like if you only had one glass of wine, your body would probably filter that out just find and nothing would get to the baby… but if you have 5 glasses of wine, its too much for the body to handle all at once and then some of it would get to the baby.. i dunno if thats true or anything, it just makes sense in my head.

avatar SweetPeaG July 30, 2012, 2:18 pm

Great point!

Think of how sick you’d be if you had 8.5 servings of alchol in one sitting. I for one would be blacked out if I had that much. One drink and I am mellow. Two drinks and I am buzzed. Three and I am drunk (over the course of a couple of hours). And I am 133 pounds. Now filter all those drinks into a 6 pound baby. Bad news.

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson July 30, 2012, 6:05 pm

UGH I think I had 8.5 drinks from 2am – 5am Saturday night/Sunday morning alone. I am still hungover.

Caris Caris July 30, 2012, 2:45 pm

Good point

Leroy Leroy July 30, 2012, 2:09 pm

I suspect that the reason that occasional drinking is more common among older mothers is due to the fact that they’re often wiser, and better educated, and more able to assess the risks.

They hysteria surrounding pregnant women drinking is a classic example of how well intended public health campaigns can take on a life of their own.

Lili Lili July 30, 2012, 2:23 pm

Tobacco-a tumor causing, teeth staining smelly puking habit. Oh sorry, the public health campaign mention made me remember that ad. Anyone else remember it?

Oh and I think we need to to trust that each person knows their body and needs and should be able to decide what to do. Women are people too-not just baby incubators :)

avatar ktfran July 30, 2012, 2:10 pm

I read the CDC article. Maybe on HuffPo. Not, Jezebel. One of the thing commenters pointed out on the article I read is that the article never differentiates between binge drinking, the occasional glass of wine and drinking while not knowing yet you’re actually pregnant. I think the report is really a disservice to women, especially responsible women making the right choices for them.

I’m not certain what I would do if I were pregnant, but I imagine enjoying a glass of wine with a delicious dinner, or for a special occasion. Also, my cousin had the occasional glass, and her husband is an ENT.

avatar Anon Y Mous July 30, 2012, 2:24 pm

Don’t you think it might have been better to educate Claire/ let it be an actual debate rather than just shutting her down in public without her knowledge? I understand that she was misguided, but maybe you should have sent your response via email rather than posting it.

Dear Wendy Wendy July 30, 2012, 2:34 pm

It’s really presumptuous of you to assume I DIDN’T discuss this with Claire before posting it. Of course, I did. And this IS my way of educating her — I’m teaching her about online publishing, not pregnancy. I wanted to use this post and the way I responded to what she wrote as a way to illustrate how to create a dialogue and promote conversation in the comments section. I also wanted her to have some experience with comment criticism in a safe way that I could moderate. Commenter criticism is a HUGE part of writing online and something young writers, especially, need to brace themselves for if they want a career as a writer online. I explained to Claire that this post would garner some negative attention. I told her that most of it would likely be directed toward me, but that some would be directed toward her. I showed her what I wrote. I gave her a chance to edit what she wrote or to respond to what I wrote, and I asked her if she was OK with me publishing this, and I let her know it was perfectly OK if she wasn’t.

avatar Taylor July 30, 2012, 3:50 pm

Good teaching moment Wendy!

avatar kerrycontrary July 30, 2012, 2:35 pm

Agree on this. While I think it’s an interesting topic to bring up with the DW community, I think Claire did get shut down a little. Like OHHH SNAP!

avatar kerrycontrary July 30, 2012, 2:37 pm

Just saw Wendy’s response, good point. And it’s why I couldn’t be in a field where I was publicly criticized!I would go home and cry all the time.

avatar SweetPeaG July 30, 2012, 2:36 pm

I think Wendy posted it because she knew it would be an interesting debate. It also gave me information that I didn’t know was out there. It got conversation going, which is great!

I don’t fault Claire for using the language she did. I think it is pretty understandable as up until now, I always thought common knowlege was that alcohol and pregnancy should NEVER mix.

avatar Emma July 30, 2012, 2:27 pm

I had a French teacher who went overseas while pregnant, and ended up in Italy somehow, where she decided to get a check-up, because she was worried about something. Well, turns out everything was okay, but the doctor ‘reminded’ her to keep her drinking to one glass of wine a day, and two espressos. It boggled her mind, haha.

I think the danger in drinking during pregnancy is probably that some women might not pay attention to the limiting (or they will limit themselves too little). Also, every body is different, so it’s hard to say what is safe for one fetus, and what will disease another.

I certainly don’t think a few drinks during pregnancy is a problem, but I did know a girl with fetal alcohol syndrome, and my mother is a physician for sick and premature newborns (which includes those affected by substance use/abuse during pregnancy), so I guess I have a unique perspective of what could happen if you aren’t careful. There are so many rumors about what is ‘actually safe’ during pregnancy, I’d say play it really safe and limit yourself to a drink maybe every month or so. I’m just saying this because there is a lot of misinformation, and misunderstandings of what doctors and scientists are saying. I mean, I’ve heard people saying that Meth during pregnancy doesn’t harm the kid. Well, I think when you’re having the wean the premature, gelatinous baby off the drug after their born, you’d think otherwise. I hear people say the same thing about marijuana (a drug I personally enjoy), but it has many of the same effects as smoking cigarettes. Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad if it was every once in awhile, but I’m not sure there has been sufficient research to determine that.

Just be careful, moms of the world, but don’t let that keep you from having fun.

becboo84 BecBoo84 July 30, 2012, 2:44 pm

I love what you had to say. And, I too, come from a “unique perspective” in that we’re foster parents, and, needless to say, have cared for children with FASD, and it sucks. What sucks even more is that there’s nothing really that can be done about it, even once it’s diagnosed, so kids are left with a lifetime of attention issues, etc.

avatar 6napkinburger July 30, 2012, 3:41 pm


I read your sentence about your perspective as ” I did know a girl with fetal alcohol syndrome WHOSE mother is a physician for sick and premature newborns…” and I was like, WFT?? Talk about education about risks not hitting home!

But then I read it again and all made sense.

LK7889 LK7889 July 30, 2012, 4:46 pm

I read it that way the first time too. And I was like, “Ok, what? I can’t have read that right…”

Caris Caris July 30, 2012, 2:33 pm

I agree with you Wendy.

Also, binging on three seasons of “Breaking Bad” in two weeks= not a bad decision :P that show is AWESOME

My mom kept doing exercise (swimming, idk if she kept running, she probably did though) on all her 3 pregnancies, right up until the 9th month. She had absolutely no problems whatsoever in any of her 3 pregnancies.

LK7889 LK7889 July 30, 2012, 4:46 pm

Breaking Bad is an awesome show. Just sayin’.

becboo84 BecBoo84 July 30, 2012, 2:35 pm

Personally, I haven’t drank at all with either of my pregnancies, but I don’t really drink in general, so it’s not been a big deal to me. And, I don’t think the occasional glass of wine is a big deal either (although I would consider 8.5 glasses a week more than “occasional”).

I know that Wendy listed a few different studies, but the CDC still recommends no alcohol while pregnant:

“We have a long history that alcohol causes birth defects,” Dr. Jacquelyn Bertrand, a child psychologist and senior scientist at the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, said in June, adding that low levels of drinking have been tied to risk for miscarriage, premature birth or stillbirth. “Drinking during pregnancy is just not worth the risk.”

And this, “The CDC says there is no known safe amount of alcohol or safe time to drink while pregnant.”

avatar cporoski July 30, 2012, 4:38 pm

I totally agree with this. I know that one drink here or there won’t kill you but it isn’t good for you either. There are alot of unsafe behaviors that people do while pregnant like eating crap and all the chemicals in our lives.