Alcohol in Pregnancy

One of the things that most pisses me off about life is it takes me years to learn how to be a decent person. I frequently learn I have spent much of my life being an arse. Like before I was pregnant I had stronger views on how pregnant women and mothers should behave. I made flippant jokes about whipping out a tit to breastfeed. Hollie McNish’s Embarrassed poem corrected that thinking. I’d get annoyed with mums dominating cafes with their buggies and little shit bag kids, without wondering where else they might go to escape their compounds at home. And I judged pregnant women who drank booze without realising the enormity of sacrifice pregnant women are expected to make with no regard for their own wellbeing and no awareness of the pregnancy propaganda women face hourly – the endless, evidence-light opinions on what they should do with their lives and bodies.

Booze was also the thing I most feared giving up for pregnancy. Booze is fun, it lightens life, it tastes great. Nine months without the golden stuff sounded shit to me. And yet, I’ve given it up for nine months and I don’t miss it half as much as I feared. And yet, and yet. Although I’ve given it up completely, I think it’s important to stress that my personal happiness meter is higher without any booze and I no longer judge those who don’t go tee-total. For me, a sip would be a tease. I like to indulge. If I was better at moderation, and I was happier with small amounts of booze, I’d drink in pregnancy. While the latest NHS advice is no boozeRCOG says there’s no evidence that small amounts make a difference to the baby after the first three months of pregnancy. Plus, for the first two months the baby feeds off the yoke sac while the placenta is forming so booze makes no difference here either. Most pregnant women are responsible enough to make decisions for their unborn child and they successfully do this every minute. Like many things in pregnancy, I think it should be a personal decision.

When Runner Bean is born I’m looking forward not to a drink, but to getting drunk: to talking shit, laughing at the questionably funny, and escaping reality for a few hours. Then I’ll wake up at 5am the next morning to Runner Bean’s eager morning calls, find the pre-pumped or formula milk, and relearn what a hangover really means. Or if I’m really smart I’ll have arranged an extra day of babysitting.

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