Is It Ever Ok to Drink Wine While Pregnant?
A glass of wine keeps the doctors away. But wait, what if I’m pregnant? Or what if I’m breastfeeding? Can a glass of wine still have positive health effects for me and my baby? What are some of the risk factors when drinking while pregnant?
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, these may be some of the questions you are asking yourself. Drinking wine while pregnant or breastfeeding has been a debate for years and no one seems to have a concrete answer quite yet about whether the answer is yes or no.
You may be thinking, well, drinking while pregnant can cause alcohol fetus syndrome, I’ve read it in all the blogs! Well, yes, but how much alcohol and what kind? Are we talking about wine? Liquor? You see, there is a huge difference between sipping on a glass of wine and downing shots of Fireball with your friends.
So, before you get your panties in a bunch or start quoting research from WebMD, let’s approach this topic from both sides. Let’s discuss drinking wine while pregnant, how wine impacts an unborn baby, and drinking while breastfeeding.
Drinking wine while pregnant and the Baby:
While you may want to keep throwing back your favorite glass of wine each night, you may also be concerned about what you can and cannot ingest during pregnancy. Many women are aware that alcohol poses risks for the baby but have also had their best friend tell them that they had an occasional glass of wine during their pregnancy. So is drinking wine while pregnant all that bad?
There are definitely some health benefits to drinking a glass of wine (especially red) each day. As many wine connoisseurs know, red wine is high in resveratrol. Resveratrol is known to boost heart health, prevent some types of vision loss and even protect against some kinds of cancer. Sign me up! It’s no wonder why many women want to keep drinking moderately while pregnant. However, many women worry if wine impacts an unborn baby and are concerned that wine is bad for the baby.
Those who opt to say wine is bad for the baby may not realize that wine is neither good for the baby or bad for the baby. Those who pose wine is bad for the baby and no amount of alcohol is recommended during pregnancy know that it could cause alcohol fetal syndrome.
With that being said, there have been midwives who have suggested that a glass of red wine throughout the week might actually be good for the baby and brain development. There is research on both sides that suggests wine is neither good for the baby or bad for the baby. Knowing if drinking wine while pregnant or breastfeeding is good for the baby or bad for the baby depends on a number of factors.
The invention of Google has made life so simple, unless you’re an expecting mother. There are thousands of blogs that claim to have the correct answers. They tell you that drinking wine while pregnant is good for the baby. Then you find another blog that tells you drinking wine is bad for the baby. You read the most extreme cases of mothers who drank while pregnant and now you’re not sure if you ever want to drink again. It’s OK. We’ve all been there.
It matters more than you think where you are getting your research from. If you are doing a quick Google search, know that Google works with an algorithm. So, while you may be viewing the most popular sites for your search, it doesn’t always mean that your information is accurate or verified.
It is suggested that if you want to know if something is good or bad during pregnancy, you should consult with your doctor. Their years of medical studies plus experience in their field will give you an answer far more accurate than what Google can output.
Drinking in Moderation:
While we are not doctors, we do know that drinking wine while pregnant can cause alcohol fetus syndrome. Studies that have linked alcohol fetus syndrome to women drinking while pregnant had reported that these women drank more than 7 glasses of alcohol per week (alcohol.org).
These same studies showed that women who moderately drank during pregnancy (less than 7 glasses of wine per week) gave birth to children who did not have alcohol fetus syndrome. However, these studies have difficulty including:
- income level
- a clear definition of “moderate”
Even though studies have shown that red wine can have positive effects related to brain development, drinking wine while pregnant is risky. The only way to ensure that your baby is born without alcohol fetal syndrome is to remain abstinent from any alcohol consumption.
But she did IT!
We understand that you may have had a friend who indulged in a glass of wine here or there during her pregnancy. Your friends baby maybe even be perfectly happy and healthy, and you wonder if drinking wine while pregnant is an option for you.
The problem here is that there are other factors to address. Just because your friend thought wine was good for the baby and everything turned out fine, doesn’t mean you should use this as your example. Your friend has different genetics than you and her liver enzymes break down alcohol differently than you.
If you think that drinking wine while pregnant or breastfeeding is good for the baby, this decision would be at your discretion. Never do something just because somebody else did it.
Drinking During the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd trimester
Maybe you’ve heard that drinking wine while pregnant is different for each trimester. For example, research has shown that drinking wine while pregnant in the first trimester poses more risks. Your chances of miscarriage are higher and wine is bad for the baby at the early stages of development.
Maybe you’ve also heard that women who drink wine while pregnant in their 2nd trimester increase their babies chances of low birth weight and other birth defects. But does that mean drinking wine is good for the baby during different trimesters?
If you’re looking for the truth about there being a better trimester for you to drink wine, there isn’t one. During each trimester your baby is developing.
- In the first trimester, your baby is developing eyes, ears, and working organs.
- In the second trimester, your baby’s features begin to develop, and you will start to feel your baby move.
- In the third trimester, your baby’s lungs start to work, and their hair is growing.
For each trimester, your baby is growing and evolving. There is no right or wrong trimester for drinking wine and at each stage drinking can possibly present a developmental risk. There is no indication that drinking wine is good for the baby at any trimester.
What about breastfeeding?
So, you’ve given birth! Congrats! You no longer have to worry about indulging in that glass of wine because your baby is no longer inside of you. Oh, wait. Breastfeeding. If you’re breastfeeding and still wonder if the wine is good for the baby or bad for the baby, it’s probably best to approach this very similar as if the baby was still inside of you. Even though you constantly were unsure if wine impacts an unborn baby, now you have to wonder if wine affects your baby through breastfeeding.
The good news is that some research indicates that reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged because very little alcohol comes out in the milk (llli.org). The absolute amount of alcohol that makes its’ way into the milk is relatively low and poses little to no risk for the breastfeeding baby.
However, there are still some things to consider when drinking wine while breastfeeding. How old is your baby? Even thought wine impacts an unborn baby can it still impact a breastfeeding baby? Research indicates that younger babes, up until about 3 months of age, metabolize alcohol much slower than older babies (llli.org). So, if your baby is over the age of 3 months it may be smarter to limit alcohol consumption while breastfeeding.
Moderation is also important when wondering if drinking wine while pregnancy and during breastfeeding is safe. If you are over consuming alcohol to the point of intoxication, it would not be safe to breastfeed an infant. However, a glass of wine will have little to no effect on the breastfeeding baby.
It’s all about the baby!
We know that you’re tired and going through a lot. One thing to remember is that you are growing life inside of you! We think that is totally worth celebrating!
So, whether you decide drinking wine while pregnant is OK or that wine is good for the baby, we promise not to judge! Just like you, we care about the health of your unborn baby and want to make sure you are getting the information you need during this important and exciting time in your life!
Drinking wine while pregnant can be a tough subject for many expecting mothers. You want to do everything you can to ensure your baby comes out happy and healthy, but you also want to keep doing everything you were doing before (this includes drinking your nightly glass of wine).
We understand that having a baby means that things are going to change. You are going to have to temporarily sacrifice some of your habits to ensure that your baby is born happy and healthy. But do you have to give up the wine?
If you do feel that drinking wine while pregnant (moderately) poses no risk for your baby’s development, there are cases that have shown this is fine and. Ultimately, drinking wine while pregnant does not make you a bad person and the mommy-shamers are going to come for you no matter what you do.
If you feel that drinking wine while pregnant has positive health effects for you and your baby, just make sure you are drinking moderately and not over consuming wine. However, if you remain skeptical on the subject, it is always best to consult your doctor on the risks and benefits of drinking wine while pregnant.
Drinking wine while pregnant is at your discretion. Drinking wine while pregnant is up to the the mother. Deciding whether wine is good for the baby or if drinking wine while pregnant or breastfeeding is only up to the mother. If you are another mother who has concerns about a friend drinking wine while pregnant, it is best to approach the situation with care. Let you friend know that you don’t agree with her drinking wine while pregnant and how wine impacts an unborn baby.