Can drinking alcohol during pregnancy hurt my baby?

For most mamas, even the thought of a little tipple during the first trimester is enough to set off their morning sickness. But for others, the idea of completely sacrificing their Friday night indulgence falls a little, well, flat. Your body doesn’t want alcohol, it’s busy enough growing a baby, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your weekend unwind has to suffer.

In this excerpt of Mama You’ve Got This, an honest guide to pregnancy, Melissa Schweiger Kleinman, offers her advice on the relationship between alcohol and mamas-to-be and suggests some other ways to unwind.

Back when my grandma was in her childbearing years, her tipple of choice was a dry Manhattan with three olives. According to my mum, she didn’t give up her cocktail habit much while she was pregnant. It wasn’t that my grandma was being negligible, she just wasn’t aware of the possible effects of alcohol on her unborn baby. This was also back in the Wild West days before babies and children were required to be in car seats. I’ll never really know how my grandma’s drinking affected my mum (her neurotic personality, perhaps?) but what I do know is that abstaining from alcohol was just something I was committed to during pregnancy.

The effects of alcohol on the mother and baby

There’s a lot of information about the potential effects of alcohol on the growing baby and none of it is good. Foetal alcohol syndrome can have both debilitating physical and mental side effects on your baby. While there’s been much debate about the safety of allowing a bit of drinking during pregnancy, such as an occasional glass of wine, the general consensus in the medical community is that abstinence is the smartest way to go. Why take a chance?

As mamas-to-be, we go above and beyond to ensure the safety of our growing babies. Avoiding sushi and the excruciating amount of medical appointments, a glass of wine or a beer is not worth the risk.

Take it from someone who got married whilst pregnant. I was the only dry one at my own hen party. I had to look on while my tipsy friends cheered on the gyrating stripper who was taking great care with his bumping and grinding so as not to touch my pregnant belly. (A little note to those who are pregnant and engaged, let your friends know you’d much prefer a spa day than a stripper).

Other ways to unwind

If you look forward to your nightly glass of red as a way to unwind, then find other ways to relax besides drinking. Whether it’s taking a warm bath or creating Pinterest mood boards for your nursery, there are plenty of alternatives for kicking back at the end of the day. Once that healthy baby comes out of your belly, you can pop open the champers.

Discover our top pregnancy picks for unwinding…


Tilly Doody-Henshaw

Tilly Doody-Henshaw

Writer and expert

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