A father has sparked a huge online debate after taking to the internet to ask for advice about his wife’s choice to drink alcohol whilst pregnant with the couple’s second child.
The father-of-one, who has remained anonymous, posted a message on parenting forum Mumsnet asking what he should do about his wife’s decision to drink during pregnancy, which has left him worried and feeling ‘strongly’ against her choice. He even revealed he has given up alcohol for nine months as a show of support to his wife, but it hasn’t affected her decision to keep drinking during pregnancy.
‘Our second baby is due in a few months and all through pregnancy my wife has drank alcohol. Not a lot, but at least one alcoholic drink every other day. A glass of wine or a beer – we aren’t talking tequila shots’ he wrote.
‘I feel so strongly against it. I really do not understand why any parent would take any risks that could harm their baby or child,’ he continued. ‘She says I am over reacting and that one drink a day is fine – I’ve found many research papers that disagree with this.’
‘For context, she did have the odd glass of wine with our 1st but we are talking maybe 4 glasses over 9months. But I think because he is fine (but as i have discovered probably too young to really tell) I think she feels like he’s fine so I can push harder this time?!’
The concerned dad concluded his post by asking the forum for their opinion on the matter, saying he had argued with his wife about it and talked about the issue ‘to death’ – but the responses he received to the question were dramatically polarised.
Some users sympathised with his fears, with one agreeing: ‘I think having that much alcohol in pregnancy is wrong and unnecessary’, and another adding: ‘Surely anyone can not drink for a few months when the potential damage is so great.’
Other users, however, attacked the man, calling him ‘controlling’ and ‘ridiculous’ and stating that he was ‘over-reacting completely.’
‘Your dp is not putting the baby at risk…there’s no evidence (unless I’ve missed it!) that one drink a day will do any harm,’ wrote one parent on the forum.
‘Unfortunately it is her choice, you can’t physically stop her,’ a second said. ‘One unit every other day is very unlikely to harm the baby so i would just try not to fret over what you can’t control.’
It’s an ongoing debate as to whether drinking alcohol whilst pregnant is really a serious risk to the development of your baby. While the traditional view has always been that expectant mothers should avoid alcohol at all costs, in recent years new research and studies have suggested that the odd glass of wine or similar might not have any affect on a foetus at all.
The most recent guidelines from NICE – The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence – state that: ‘Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy should be advised to avoid drinking alcohol in the first three months of pregnancy if possible because it may be associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.’
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They also say: ‘If women choose to drink alcohol during pregnancy they should be advised to drink no more than one to two UK units once or twice a week (one unit equals half a pint of ordinary strength lager or beer, or one shot [25 ml] of spirits. One small [125 ml] glass of wine is equal to 1.5 UK units). Although there is uncertainty regarding a safe level of alcohol consumption in pregnancy, at this low level there is no evidence of harm to the unborn baby.’
The latest guidelines are an update of a document published in 2003. The revisions are based on the medical consensus of the review group.
What do you think? Share your thoughts on drinking alcohol during pregnancy with us in the comments below.