It can be difficult to stay on top of the dos and don’ts of pregnancy – do exercise daily, don’t eat certain cheeses. But one recommendation is well-known and largely unchallenged – don’t drink alcohol.
There is no known safe level of alcohol consumption in pregnancy, which is why women are advised to give it up completely. However, Whisper (the anonymous social media app) recently shared confessions from 14 women who continued to drink during pregnancy.
Here are just four of them…
1. I’m pregnant and I drink beer every day. I feel so ashamed.
This woman is clearly aware of the risks associated with drinking during pregnancy because she feels ‘ashamed’. The fact that she continues to drink suggests that she is in need of support.
If this seems familiar, speak to your midwife to get the help you need (and want).
2. I’m pregnant and the only thing that keeps me sane from the hormones is 3 sips of wine a day.
Although three sips a day seems fairly minor, the reason behind it isn’t. If the thing you need to do to stay ‘sane’ during pregnancy carries a risk to you or your baby, it’s worth going to see your midwife to chat through some alternatives.
There are lots of healthier ways to reduce stress in pregnancy and combat hormones.
3. I feel guilty, I’m pregnant and drank a glass of red wine today. I know that some say it’s okay and some don’t. I won’t be doing it again.
Secondly, guilt can be horrible. If you’re worried about something you’ve done, share it with your midwife and try to put it in the past so you can stop worrying.
4. I drank a glass of red wine twice a week during my pregnancy and also smoked. My daughter is perfectly healthy.
If we had £1 for every time we heard “But I did X and my baby is absolutely fine” after sharing new evidence we would have a lot more money for research. We realise it is a tricky one, but this attitude can be dangerous for some expectant mums.
Whilst it is fortunate that this woman’s daughter was ‘perfectly healthy’, the truth is that she was one of the lucky ones. Smoking is the no 1 preventable risk of stillbirth and other complications for babies in the womb.
Lots of actions can increase the risk of harm to an unborn baby – riding a rollercoaster, sleeping on your back in the third trimester, taking certain medications, smoking, drinking alcohol and more. Some are more risky than others, but any risk means that some babies will be fine if exposed and others will not.
We do not know what level of alcohol is safe for one mum and her baby compared to another, therefore all women are advised not to drink while pregnant.
That said, if you are still drinking and you want to stop please talk to your midwife rather than sharing it anonymously with an app. You won’t be in trouble and they will be happy to help you cut down.
Our midwife Sophie says,
"Pregnancy is a time of so much change for a mum-to-be and with this can come lots of anxiety. All women should know that their midwife (or any midwife they come into contact with) can help to support and advise them through the rough times as well as the smooth.
Remembering that a percentage of everything consumed by the mother is passed onto the baby is really important in helping to make the healthiest choices - this includes all food, drinks (including alcohol), cigarettes and drugs.
The bottom line, is that midwives are well equipped to help support women with any problems they are facing in pregnancy. Nothing is off limits to us; from discussing alcohol consumption, domestic violence, unusual vaginal discharge, the list goes on. We’ve heard it all and we will never judge you.
As midwives, we want to provide the best care and support to all of our women, helping them to get the best out of their pregnancy for themselves and their baby."