STFU Parents: The Dangerous Cocktail Of Discussing Alcohol And Pregnancy On Facebook

Last week, Mommyish reported on the recent study that shows that low to moderate drinking during pregnancy will not harm your baby, and 55% of readers admitted to drinking the odd glass of wine or beer. I use the word “admitted” because the general attitude that people (especially women) have when discussing the subject is that alcohol and pregnancy do not mix. For years, drinking during pregnancy has been taboo. In the past, it was taboo for health and safety reasons, but over the years it’s become taboo because some people feel that there is a “right” way and a “wrong” way for women to indulge in pretty much anything during pregnancy. Sandwich meats, coffee, and soft cheeses already get a bad rap, but when a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, watch out! That is the worst of the worst in the Land of No-Nos, and for every woman who backs up her decision to drink the occasional glass of wine with a study, there are about a thousand women who are happy to tell her she’s crazy. Or, more than that, that she’s a witch for even conceiving of touching a drop of alcohol, much less drinking a whole glass of the stuff.

Women have heard it all: Why take the risk? This is your baby we’re talking about. Some women who have suffered complications or miscarriages can’t fathom why a perfectly healthy woman with a perfectly healthy baby would want to “cheat” during pregnancy just to remember what a glass of champagne tastes like. Those women feel cheated themselves, because they experienced frustrations in an area where many other women – even boozy women – haven’t. It’s a sensitive subject, not only because of the decades women have been warned not to drink a single ounce of alcohol during pregnancy, but because caring for a developing baby is a huge responsibility. While some women view consuming an occasional glass of alcohol as not that big a deal, others view that casual approach as reckless and inappropriate. And given the opportunity, they’re inclined to tell their pregnant friend, sister, neighbor, or even a stranger just what they think, whether they know much about that woman’s drinking habits and health or not.

Never is this lack of filter more apparent than on the Internet, where judging people comes quite naturally to the opinionated among us. I was thinking about this last week after I posted my friend Claire’s article about drinking while pregnant on the STFU, Parents Facebook Page. First, it struck me that everyone had very strong feelings on the subject, and second, that it must really suck being pregnant and trying to enjoy a beer that is, essentially, doctor approved, when at least a portion of society just won’t let you. Whether Claire is drinking “too much” or not is beside the point; the point is, her piece ignited a somewhat hostile debate on the Facebook page over what’s considered “acceptable” for pregnant women to do, or in this case, to drink. I recalled a submission I received recently that made me think that women shouldn’t share this type of information about themselves on social media, and how sad that is. It’s a shame that, even with studies backing up a woman’s personal decision to have a drink while pregnant, it might be best if women didn’t bring up the topic on sites like Facebook at all. Maybe it’s just not possible for people to have civilized discussions about such a controversial subject via social media platforms. When everyone from your grade school lab partner to your mother’s friends to people you don’t even know has an opinion, perhaps it’s just not worth it. Perhaps a pregnant woman talking about having a beer on Facebook is in fact riskier than enjoying the beer in the first place. Take a look at that submission to decide for yourself:


See what I mean? Insults hurled, science ignored, and everyone is left feeling more or less worse than your average hangover. Studies are wonderful aids for women to use when making personal choices about what to eat and drink during pregnancy, but it seems that even science isn’t enough to alter the social stigmas associated with consuming certain things while pregnant.

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  • Sarah

    I don’t really care what women do to their bodies. If you just absolutely have to have a drink then have it. I don’t see any scenario where you HAVE to have one though… And I didn’t drink while pregnant…because I can’t have just ONE glass of wine :). I’m also not drinking while nursing either, I just feel weird about it, so that’s enough for me to not do it.

    • notorious

      When you say things like ‘I don’t see any scenario where you HAVE to have one though” , you are coming dangerously close to being just as judgmental as that bitch up there in the submission. There is nothing wrong with having wine occasionally while pregnant or nursing. There is nothing wrong with choosing NOT to drink at all while doing those things either. FYI, most nursing women who drink don’t drink just before nursing – once you are sober the alcohol is out of your system and therefore out of your milk. It doesn’t just sit in your boob waiting to intoxicate your baby.

  • D

    I was told to have a 3oz glass for preterm contractions–if they stopped, rest easy and if not, call the doc back. “It’s a lot better for you than the medicines they’ll give you at the hospital!”

  • Tracy

    Josie is a c***.

    • Jess

      Pretty much.

      I don’t agree absolutely with everything that Karis said but Josie is just too dumb to be live. When you begin by blaming a responsible mother’s actions for her kid’s deafness, you are officially an asshole.

      I don’t think I’d enjoy Andrea’s can-only-see-from-her-current-perspective company either though.

    • Andie

      I agree. How can Andrea (anyone, really) be friends with someone who’d throw someone’s child’s deafness out as an attack like that.

  • Tinyfaeri

    People need to be a bit less judgy of pregnant women in general. A beer or a glass of wine now and again in the 2nd or 3rd trimester won’t hurt anyone.

  • Keri

    usually i find stfu parents to be pretty spot on about most thing. but on this, i will disagree. any amount of alcohol in the system effects a fetus’s heart. maybe not permanently, but ultrasounds show that this is true. and study after study may say this or that but, it’s probably best that you ask your own doctor. that said, the above submission sucks because of the attack and judgement. i do judge pregnant women who drink but only for that fact that, apparently, alcohol is so important to these women that they can’t not drink it for 9 months. that’s the isse. not that alcohol may or may not cause harm but simply because women need those studies that say it’s ok to justify their lack of self-control and their need to have those occasional beers or glasses of wine. if there’s even a small question of risk, why take it?

    • SqueekyWheel

      Oh good Lord. I have enough self control to avoid the actual *harmful* things like raw fish, deli meat, smoking, and Brie. And I didn’t not have a sip of alcohol during the first trimester when the risk of miscarriage is highest (for many reason). But even my OB said the occasional glass of wine is ok. A friend was told to drink red wine daily to help with a blood pressure issue or something like that. There is no need to chastise women for doing something medically approved that they’ve made a thoughtful and conscious choice to do. You sanctimonious d-bags are just contributing to the effort to keep women “in their place.”

    • Karena

      Have you ever been pregnant? Because I’ll tell you, in my 8th and 9th month, that half a glass of wine 3 times a week (doctor ok’d) is the ONLY thing that helped me relax enough to sleep. And my son is brilliant.

    • MommyK

      Half a glass of wine in the 8th and 9th months doesn’t seem any different than having that amount while breastfeeding (which I did). It’s not like it’s being fed to them directly through a baby bottle. I had trouble sleeping at the end, and maybe I might try that for my next pregnancy if my dr okays it.

    • RubyRuby

      A shame-spitting diatribe left as a comment to an article about the prevalence of shame-spitting diatribes. Nice.

    • Kelly

      There’s nothing wrong with brie! Why does it keep getting lumped in with smoking and deli meat? I ate a metric ton of it (HUGE craving) throughout two healthy pregnancies. If it’s pasteurized, no problem.

    • ipsedixit

      The problem is the way alcohol is perceived in the US; as if it’s some evil substance. Drinking copious amounts of alcohol isn’t good for *anyone*. Drinking alcohol in moderation isn’t “lacking self-control.”

      I can think of a lot of unhealthy items pregnant women consume that are worse than the occasional glass of alcohol. Processed foods, fast foods, gallons of ice cream, anything fried, any drink besides water, etc. Yet you don’t see people secretly judging any pregnant lady not on a vegan, organic raw diet.

      I mean, if there is even a small questions of risk why can’t you have the self-control to go on an all vegan, organic raw diet for 9 months? Don’t you love your baby? //sarcasm.

      I was an ex-pat living in southern Italy during the bulk of my pregnancy. I had a glass of red wine – and a prosecco here or there – about once a week. No one looked sideways at me. I’m sure if there were an epidemic of Italian babies being born with defects or FAS there would be a swing in culture, but there isn’t.

    • aliceblue

      You say that it is “best that you ask your own doctor” and thensay that you “do judge pregnant women who drink..for the fact fact..alcohol is so important ..they can’t not drink it…?” Just how do you know that those women didn’t check with their doctors and are choosing to have a drink because they would like one?
      Are you judging fat women who don’t lose weight, every woman who has a soda, cup of coffee or ham sandwich? Women keep their cats insteaed of taking them to the Human Society, smoke a daily cigarette, or take a does or two of Advil or cold medication during their pregnancy? Everything has risks and, while some women make poor choices, many more have decided what is best for them and don’t need strangers commenting on their lack of self-control.

      Don’t want any risk at all? Don’t get pregnant. Otherwise just about everything has some risk;

  • Kim

    It’s not “ignoring the science” when there are studies out there that say the opposite.

    Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is caused by alcohol intake during pregnancy. No one knows how much alcohol causes it. If you don’t consume alcohol during pregnancy, you will absolutely, 100% not have a FAS baby. If you do, you have a risk. Is it a risk you’re willing to take? I guess that’s up to you.

    • Valorie

      Yes, they do. You can look up some research on small amounts of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Your information seems a bit outdated.

    • Kim

      From the Center for Disease Control: “FASDs are 100% preventable if a woman does not drink alcohol during pregnancy. There is no known safe amount of alcohol to drink while pregnant. There is also no safe time during pregnancy to drink and no safe kind of alcohol.”

    • BBJ

      The exact amount of alcohol intake that will result in FAS has not been determined. Neither has a specific safe amount of alcohol to drink during pregnancy. But that does not mean ‘any amount of alcohol might cause FAS’.

      We know as a matter of fact, that FAS is the result of repeated and extreme binge drinking during pregnancy. It does not result from a couple of glasses of wine a week.

      I don’t drink during pregnancy, because I am a nervous Nellie, but it’s pretty obvious that light social drinking is not a huge menace to fetal development.

    • For Kim

      It’s only okay for people in the UK, I guess or maybe our country just trusts us to control ourselves /jk Seriously, though that CDC site sounds like the most simplistic information instead of a guideline for physicians

    • James

      And here is a link that refutes yours and is not written in as simplistic of a manner as possible. Or maybe only American babies die instantly if their mother’s smell alcohol? /jk All it says is that in the first three months it may increase miscarriage risk and to not binge afterward.

    • Kim

      It’s true that binge drinking is what causes FAS, which is the most extreme of the FASDs. However, it is not known how much alcohol is safe to 100% prevent an FASD (some of which are much less extreme and may be diagnosed as ADD, according to the CDC).

      As I said, there is a risk. Saying there is no risk at all is simply not true. Doctors may advise that women can drink alcohol in moderation because the risk is small, or the risk is outweighed by something else. How you deal with risks to your pregnancy is up to you (as I’ve said above).

  • Cristina

    I’ll drink to that! CHEERS

  • Jacquie

    Dude, I posted a picture of a Busch NA I was enjoying during my 4th month of pregnancy and STILL got heat for it. People were all, “You know there’s still alcohol in that, right? You shouldn’t be drinking it.”

    Does that person have any idea just how much Busch NA one would have to drink to feel the effects of the alcohol in it?

    I stay away from the subject now, except to complain about how much I miss drinking.

  • Valorie

    Karis is about half right here. A glass of wine won’t kill your baby any faster than a cup of coffee will. The type of alcohol really doesn’t matter though. Wine is better than liquor but that’s pretty general knowledge. Alcohol begins to have a teratogenic effect on the fetus when it is consumed in large amounts in a short amount of time. During breast feeding it’s much the same situation. Only a tiny fraction of alcohol will enter the milk, but its probably not a great idea to test your luck with large amounts. People forget that the fetus isn’t ingesting straight from the stomach but that all the food and drink mom takes it will first be processed by her own body. A general rule I’ve heard is that if its bad for you, its bad for baby. Binge drinking is dangerous with or without a fetus, so don’t do it. But one or two glasses of wine a week is great for you so it is fine for the fetus. There are even studies now showing that mother’s who can relax a little with a few drinks end up giving their children a developmental advantage. (you can look it up in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health if curious)

  • nvi

    My sister-in-law and I were pregnant at the same time, but she was living in the States and I was living in Germany. It was amazing the differences our doctors/society had about our pregnancies– what to eat, what not to eat, when to do ultrasounds, etc, etc– and with the “drinking during pregnancy” topic, we were given completely different responses. We each listened to our own doctor, lived in the way our society was, and made our own choices for our pregnancies. In the end, we each had a very healthy baby. In the end, you choose what’s best for you based on all the information you have… and let everyone else choose for themselves.

  • SqueekyWheel

    Wow. Josie is a psycho-bitch. Doesn’t help her argument that it’s nearly incoherent with LOL-speak.

    • Andrea

      Right? I love how her comments are all, “No u r so stoopid it is yu tha is dum not mee”

  • Rose

    Josie (and other moms) need to stop being a Judgy McJudgerson. Whether or not you drink during your pregnancy or 4th trimester is YOUR BEESWAX. I see plenty of moms doing stuff that I don’t agree with, some are things that I think are dangerous to the baby. But it’s not my kid. I have control over the baby that I grew and have custody over, and my choices affect that baby and no one else. I recognize that and go on my merry way. (lifts a vodka & lemonade) Cheers.

  • Fay

    Wow, not cool attacking her sons deafness, and basically accusing her family of being tipplers.

    and I’m sorry I have a hard time believing yellow is the “smart” one in this debate when she refuses to use real worlds like You.

  • Momma

    How about we stop judging and let people choose for themselves…and live with the consequences of their actions?

    This is not a country of 1 religion, 1 morality, 1 way of life.

    Judging someone based off of a glass of wine, which may be religiously or culturally mandated, is incredibly stupid and narrow minded.

    The sooner we (as Americans) stop expecting the entire world to bend to our way of thinking, the better.

  • Colleen

    I guess women in countries that are not the USA all have babies with birth defects and fetal alcohol syndrome. What horrible, soulless people non-Americans are!

    And don’t get me started on all those people in the days of yore when water was mostly unsafe to drink and everyone drank alcohol instead. It sure is a miracle the human species is still around since alcohol gives everyone birth defects and/or FAS!

    Just because a woman chooses to have a glass of wine here and there during her pregnancy when it’s medically approved, that doesn’t mean she has no self control and is some kind of alcoholic who “needs” her fix.

    It’s the puritanical American stigma against alcohol in general that makes people think it’s the devil’s water and that one drink always leads to binge drinking and getting wasted. I wouldn’t be surprised if I found out that a glass of wine were less harmful during pregnancy than a cup of coffee or a soda.

    • Elga

      Colleen, you are guilty of the very thing this post is about–stereotyping a segment of people. U.S. laws regarding drunk driving are looser than most of Europe’s, and yet there’s a “puritanical American stigma against alcohol”? Granted, there are a portion of southern states where one might encounter that, but in general, no. Please be part of the solution and educate yourself instead of generalizing.

    • Andrea

      Yeah, I occasionally have to remind my husband that women in Germany don’t have to put up with nasty looks if they sip on a glass of wine while pregnant. He spent part of his childhood in Germany, but apparently has been in North America long enough to develop the paranoia that a glass of wine every few weeks is going to permanently damage our baby.

    • Avery

      I don’t really feel strongly about either perspective being argued for here, but I thought you might want to know that, although alcohol was consumed on a more regular basis “in the days of yore” there are plenty of accounts of pregnant women and wet nurses being warned off of alcohol. There are also biblical, ancient Greek, and Roman accounts that discuss problems associated with drinking and child outcomes.

      Also, I understand “American puritanical” impulses have taken things a bit far in regards to regulating women’s bodies on many levels, but if it weren’t for American doctors, FAS and FASD may never have been identified. A French doctor identified it in the 1960′s and he was almost literally thrown off the stage at a French conference when he presented his findings. Like in all things, the door can swing both ways.

      Finally, on an unrelated note, kudos for Karis handling the awkwardness of this social media encounter like a champ. She expresses herself articulately and then checks out before allowing the temptation to “flip out” on the internet to take her over. I don’t think you need to avoid mentioning your own practices on Facebook, just know that others will likely disagree with you, and know how to handle it. Good for her.

  • jay

    … seriously? the judgement here is awesome. if you EVER want a glass of wine or beer, and then make the choice to have one, you’re an ALCOHOLIC!!!! right?!?!? moron.

    my mother is an OBGYN and babies is kind of her business. she, about a billion other medical professionals have repeatedly stated that STRESS is the worst thing for your growing baby. if you’re stressed about being in the no wine / coffee / beer / cigarettes / sandwich meat / food other than cereal prison, most doctors would tell you to do what you have to do to relax. they certainly don’t suggest going to all night ragers while pregenant (or ever, for that matter), and wine is an all natural product, chock full of heart healthiness. it’s not that it’s “so important you can’t not drink it for nine months”, it’s that some people can read and decide for themselves what’s best for them. perhaps you like pizza, and there’s a study that says eating an entire pizza every day will be harmful to your baby. THAT’S IT! NO PIZZA AT ALL FOR AT LEAST A YEAR AND A HALF!!! give me a break and relax. you have on idea what’s happening in someone else’s life and have no right to judge what they do with their body. or what they grow in your body.

    • April

      My doctor told me to cut down to 5 cigarettes a day when I was pregnant. Why? Because she said if I quit, I would have caused stress on the baby. I wasn’t a casual smoker. I was fully prepared to quit for my baby, but I listened to my doctor. My son came out perfectly healthy. Fourteen years later, he’s still a healthy kid.

    • Snapfish

      Excellent point. Stress is extremely damaging to a fetus or baby. I’ve read some excellent books by prominent doctors on how this can cause or worsen all sorts of problems like ADHD, addictions, depression, anxiety, pain sensitivity/fibromyalgia, etc. No one goes around criticizing parents for being stressed out and society/government doesn’t take any steps to help with this issue.

    • Mel

      This is a whole sample size of one, me, but I smoked through 2 of my three pregnancies, children were 7lb 8oz, 8lb and 9lb, so all good healthy weights. I quit for my middle pregnancy but during that time my FIL was diagnosed with cancer and died. The pregnancy was also quite soon after my first (they’re 14 months apart) so all in all a stressful time. Guess which child ended up with ADHD and asthma?

      My first pregnancy I got blind drunk twice before I even realised I was pregnant. She turned out great.

      My kids are all into their mid to late 20′s now and I can’t even begin to count the number of opinions that have changed on the what’s the right way to be pregnant or raise a child. None of my kids suffered because they slept on their tummies, or I ate cold meat and soft cheeses, or because I enjoyed the odd glass of booze while socialising.

      I’ve got one thing to say to those who are so quick to jump on someone for their choices. Scientific opinion changes all the time as new methods are discovered and new evidence uncovered. Enjoy your self satisfaction while you can because one day your kids are going to have their own little ones and then YOU’RE going to be on the receiving end of some sneering comments about your child raising abilities.

      To everyone else who has a modicum of common sense, trust your instincts and enjoy the experience. Society has been having and raising children for millenium and very successfully judging by the world population.

    • kathleen

      Mel, me too! I had no idea I was pregnant with my first and went to a farewell party for an Army officer who was reassigned (ex was in the Army)…I smoked half a pack of cigarettes and drank a LOT. A. LOT.

      My baby is going off to college soon, and she’s a bright and delightful child.

      Not that I recommend the heavy-smoking-and-drinking plan for pregnant women…but it isn’t automatically fatal, you know”

  • Dinsquared

    Holy carp. Josie’s a bitch. Luckily, so is Karma, IMO.

  • Meg

    If anyone is listening and taking advice from that idiot named Josie, we all need to watch out. Why do the most ignorant people have to make the biggest fuss?
    If I ever have a baby, you bet I’m not going to miss out on a champagne toast at a wedding, or a bit of beer on a hot day. I’m not going to go all college days and do a keg stand or anything.

  • Jess

    I drank one cup of coffee a day while pregnant. By the way some people acted, you would have thought I was mainlining heroin into my fetus. She turned out just fine, by the way.

    • hypatia arez (@justhypatia)

      I once saw a barista refuse to serve any but decaf to a woman who happened to be pregnant.

    • Carolyna

      I drink one cup of coffee a day as well. I am 8 months pregnant with my second child. I have a daughter who turned one last week. My doctor asked me what I was eating and when I told her, her response was ” Oh Getting your caffeine fix I see.” Oh well

    • kate

      @caroline, dont stress baby 3 i was up to two cups a day..and a diet coke. ;)

  • HAB

    Josie’s post makes me rage. Implying that deafness isn’t ‘perfectly healthy’ is ignorant at best. How rude! Perhaps it stings me because my husband is deaf and is a HEALTHY, healthy person. And, go figure, my mother-in-law was a health nut and especially so while pregnant – she never touched a drop of alcohol while pregnant!!

    I certainly hope Josie never has a child with any sort of impairment. What an out of touch person.

    • RSH

      It pisses me off, too. I’m studying to become an ASL Interpreter, and have learned a lot about Deafness and the Deaf culture, and to insinuate that a person is unhealthy because they are Deaf shows a HUGE amount of ignorance and disrespect.

  • J

    To be fair, no one sends you the logs of intelligent, respectful conversations. I’ve seen plenty of them on my newsfeed (maybe because so many of my friends are pregnant at the moment). I think you are unfairly portraying the anti-alcohol crowd as dense and oblivious to science. There are valid arguments to be made from both camps.

    • STFU Parents

      I’m basing it on the fact that *one* person can ruin a conversation, like the person above. I wouldn’t want to take that risk. Whether it’s an old friend, stranger, or distant aunt, I wouldn’t want to be told that I am knowingly harming my baby and am a bad person for doing so. That’s my opinion.

  • Amy

    In the same way that someone terminating a pregnancy is none of my business, how they choose to have their pregnancy is also none of my business. Drink or don’t, and leave other people alone about their choices too. Women’s uteruses and anything in them belong to the women.

    • Jennifer

      i’d vote for you. we need smart voices like yours

  • whiteroses

    I’m nine months pregnant and I chose not to drink throughout- because of a lot of reasons, most of which are personal and nobody else’s business. If someone else decides to, then to each their own. If you know the risks and choose to get shitfaced on a daily basis, then have a baby born with FAS, the consequences are yours- but I don’t think that a little responsible drinking does much, one way or the other.

    I’m not raising your child, I’m raising mine- and that’s really all I’ve got energy for. Unless you’ve been given the responsibility of raising my child, you can STFU. You know what I judge? Women who abuse their kids. Women who clearly don’t care about their kids. Women who give up their kids for adoption because they’re deaf or blind or have a birth defect (which does happen). I don’t judge women for having a glass of wine. There are so many other terrible things in this world.

    Also, deafness is not caused by drinking in the womb- and this is speaking as someone whose family has worked with deaf children for decades. Anyone who’d say otherwise has no right to dispense medical advice.

    • Another Steph

      …unless you’re a character in a Sweet Valley High novel – in that case, taking diet pills while pregnant can cause deafness.

  • G3

    Man, when I get pregnant, I’m gonna have fun with this. I will carry my flask around with water or juice in it and “surreptitiously” take sips in public places when people are watching. It’s gonna be awesome!

    • Jennifer

      PLEASE FRIEND ME!!!! so i can have fun with this too by supporting your “habit”!!!!

      that’s freaking hilarious!

    • Arielle

      Trolling is an art. Hilarious.

    • Niki

      I have an outfit that, when the right pillow is in there, makes me look pregnant. It is unbelievably convincing. So last Halloween, that’s what I wore to a party. I got a LOT of nasty looks from drinking and smoking cigarettes all night long. It really confused the hell out of them when I ended up winning “Most Unique Costume!” They were like, “I don’t get it, what’s your costume?” That’s when I finally lifted the shirt to show them the pillow :-)

  • Jessica

    @Keri and Kim:

    No matter what your personal beliefs on alcohol consumption during pregnancy may be may be, you may have noticed that in general this comment forum, specific to the article above, is generally supportive of a woman’s right to chose how to best care for her body while pregnant. While the CDC may state that there is no “known level of consumption” which is safe during pregnancy, it does not state the counter point which is that it is not known specifically at which point alcohol consumption ACTUALLY becomes a risk.

    I am 8 months pregnant with my first child. I’m having one of those pregnancies where medically, according to my Dr, everything is going perfectly. I never had any morning sickness, no cravings, no aches or pains, all my measurements and tests point to a fabulously developing bundle of joy. About a month ago I was driving home from a Dr appointment when an 18 wheel tractor trailer drove right through his stop sign and perpendicularly into my car. Baby and mom are fine, car….not so much. The point is, I haven’t had any alcohol throughout my pregnancy (not for any reason other than being disinterested in it – wasn’t much of a drinker before hand and my husband doesn’t drink) and I still put my baby and myself at risk because I went to see my Dr. There is almost NO ACTIVITY where a level of NO RISK can be attained – even breathing (air pollution anyone??) Make choices for yourself that make you feel confident you are taking care of yourself and your developing child – and respect that just like people live their lives differently from each other, they will also live their pregnancies differently.

    • Kim

      I understand your position, Jessica, but this is a public forum and discussion is generally encouraged. I am permitted to state my opinion. If authors would like to post articles without allowing any dissenting opinions, the comments section should not be enabled, or should come with a disclaimer that “only comments in agreement are welcome.” This is a controversial topic, and anyone writing about it knows that there is going to be discussion. You can state your reasons for feeling the way you do (and you did, eloquently, above)…why am I not allowed the same courtesy?

    • Kim

      Also…I have not (in any comment) advocated taking away anyone’s choice as to how she takes care of herself and her developing child. I’ve explained my own choices and the reasons behind them. I am not basing anyone on Facebook, or commenting on anyone’s choice personally. I am listing the facts as I understand them (in refutation to the statements that there is no risk at all). How anyone chooses to manage those risks is up to her, but it wouldn’t be a conversation at all if I had to gauge the general feel of this comment forum and tailor my comments accordingly. Congratulations and sincerest best wishes for your pregnancy.

    • Jessica

      @ Kim,

      Funny you should reply that because a bit after I posted I thought “hm, I guess my comment was just judging someone else for having an opinion – which is essentially what I was saying we shouldn’t be doing”. So I hear you and I agree with your response :)

      Thanks for your well wishes!

    • Kim

      Thanks, Jessica! :~)

    • Snapfish

      Awesome post! I’ve noticed that too that people are always misinterpreting the CDC statement that there is no known level of consumption which is safe during pregnancy to mean any consumption of alcohol whatsoever is extremely unsafe for your fetus. What it actually means is that in their view there has not been enough research done into the effects of small amounts of alcohol by a pregnant woman to make a determination. All sorts of things are risky or unhealthy for us, our fetus or our child that are not given such a huge social stigma. I fully believe that someone should be free to make their own decisions about what level of risk is acceptable and what sources they trust on educating themselves about the risks.

  • Heathbar

    Josie would have loved me during my second pregnancy – I craved chocolate frosting, fish, shellfish, beer and wine. If I could have, that is all I would have consumed for six months. Woo hoo!

  • Nicole

    I agree with your post for the most part. The one point I disagree with is your statement about maybe just not talking about it on Facebook (or, really, in any public forum where others feel free to comment). The only way you can change the status quo is to speak up. There may be another woman reading that post and empathizing with Karis. Or maybe she’s thinking, “Thank goodness I’m not the only one!” It was only one (very ignorant) person who attacked Karis.

  • Karin

    Here’s the truth about “personal opinion”… it’s crap and usually unsolicited and unwanted. Unless someone has said “what do you think”… your opinion is more about your own narcissism than anything else. It’s probably none of your damn business anyways.

    • Cosmic

      Is that your “personal opinion” about “personal opinions?”

  • Katie

    Josie was definitely a total bitch. But can we talk about Andrea for a minute? Not only did she choose not to drink while pregnant (which is fine for her) but she is talking about how she is disgusted with *anyone* who chooses to drink now? Like nobody in her life can drink at all now that she’s pregnant? Come ON. That is ridiculous.

    For the record, since everyone else has mentioned, I am five months pregnant and I am not drinking, mainly because I would rather wait and be able to have a full, big glass of wine or a whole pint of beer, rather than having a measley 3 oz. It’s easier for me to just abstain. And occasionally smell the glasses of my friends. They are very understanding about that.

    Being pregnant is wonderful in a lot of ways, but let’s be honest. It sucks sometimes too. Your body is doing weird, unfamiliar things, and everywhere you turn there is a new thing you shouldn’t eat, drink, or do. Let the women have their wine! They are making the ultimate sacrifice by growing a baby and thinking about someone besides themselves *forever*. They deserve a little indulgence.

    • Lisap

      In the world in my head, I imagine Andrea is close with someone who has a drinking problem of some sort and now seeing this fact in a different light since she went from being a drinker to realizing how easily should could give it up for the sake of a pregnancy. Or, she is having a hard time giving it up or is very young and is seeing her non-child bearing friends continue to party hardy and is jealous.

      In my experience, people with such hard lines on how awful and selfish drinkers are fall into one of the 2 categories: perspective skewed by someone with a legit problem or not willing to totally admit to their own problem. With a few pinches of “condescending crazy, who feel everyone who doesn’t make the same life changes at the same time as them are selfish and awful people”.

      I should admit I am not from a place where you find many religious fanatics and have only come across about 3 teetotalers in my life (I pretty much believe everyone who doesn’t drink at all is a reformed alcoholic or related to an alcoholic and not willing to tempt fate, based on my experience) so it is possible I have just never come across many people who just honestly think alcohol is bad and Andrea has become one of those people.

    • Leigha7

      I read it the same way. I think it was the “nothing else matters” part. You wouldn’t say that casual drinkers act like nothing else matters besides alcohol. It seems to me she either means someone in particular or, as Lisap kind of said (but I hadn’t thought of before) maybe her social life previously revolved around drinking and her friends aren’t attempting to find ways to socialize with her that she can actually do, which is kind of selfish. (Not that they shouldn’t be allowed to continue partying, but if they’re really her friends, they should be able to do other things with her as well.)

      ETA: But I have to disagree with your sentiment about people who don’t drink. I don’t drink, and it’s partly because no one in my family ever drank particularly much and I was never part of the “partying” group in high school/college, so it was just never a part of my life. Also I don’t really like the taste of alcohol (I’ve had sips of various drinks before, they all taste kind of the same–the taste of the alcohol itself is really strong and really unpleasant to me), so there’s no point at all in me spending money on it.

  • Pers

    Why do Americans feel the need to butt their heads into other people’s business? I don’t care what anyone is eating, drinking and doing in their bedrooms.

    Get a life.

    • Astoria

      That could well be the single worst logic present on this page. Protecting the welfare of children is indeed in the interests of society, especially when all that is being done is DISCUSSING the topic. People used to think it was none of their business when someone was harming their child; that it was a private family matter. Thank goodness we have learned better, and they were wrong for the very same reason you are wrong.

      I don’t think it is right to condemn women for behaviors while pregnant such as light drinking or having caffeine. But this is because those behaviors have not been proven harmful, not because a pregnant woman has some right to privacy while she is harming her child.

    • Another Steph

      Shaming a pregnant woman for her eating and drinking choices when you know absolutely nothing about her situation, or what her doctor has approved, is not ‘protecting the welfare of children’.

  • a

    ok seriously people equating dinking a coffee while pregnant with having a beer…. are you flippen kidding me!?!!!
    do you even know or understand the diagnosis you are putting your child at risk of? So a study says its ok to have a glass of wine now and then, there are plenty of other studies and years of research supporting that there is no safe amounts and that even social drinkers can have a child with an FASD, is it seriously worth risking?
    I work with people everyday who were prenatally exposed to alcohol I see them in and out of jail, being sexually abused, comitting sexual abuse, struggling with mental health issues and I can say ITS NOT WORTH THE RISK
    For those women who say they drank while pregnant and their children are fine, they may be fine or they may not. One of the biggest issues with FASD is how difficult and complex diagnosis is and how often people are misdiagnosed…..
    Finally for those who say its a womans choice and that it is nobody’s buisness but hers… tell that to the family of a child sexually assaulted because the offender’ doesn’t understand consent or age appropiate sexual partners because their brain was damanged by prenatal alcohol use. Also please justify how an entirely prevenable disorder that costs the US goverment an estimated 6 billion annually and the canadian government 5.3 (and these are underestimations because MANY people are never appropriately diagnosed) should be left up to a woman, feeling what is right for her body…
    Its one thing if you have an addiction, but risking giving your child serious braing damage because you don’t want to give up the taste of champagne is pathetic, and to be frank if your childs health is not worth giving up alcohol for 9 months… you may want to seriously think about your drinking patterns…

    • E

      I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that the VAST majority of these people you work with are not the children of middle class women who had one or two drinks while pregnant. My husband’s cousin fostered/adopted five children with FAS.

      Last time I checked we weren’t outlawing behavious that cost government a lot of money. Smoking anyone??

      Get your regulation out of my uterus.

    • LawGeek

      “there are plenty of other studies and years of research supporting that there is no safe amounts and that even social drinkers can have a child with an FASD,”

      Can you please provide links or citations to these studies?

    • whoa

      Wow, so if I get raped, it’s the dude’s mom’s fault for having a drink while she was pregnant. Good to know.

  • lynn

    Everyone here is so funny with such raw emotion on this subject.

    Someone is either concerned that wine will damage a fetus or the other end of the spectrum, which they state wine is healthy and all natural.

    Both of these statements are a tad bit extreme, depending on the circumstances. 1) How much the pregnant mother consumes 2) If the wine is organic

    Hello, wine contains sulfites, pretty bad shit for a fetus. Research it, become an informed consumer on what the FDA states on sulfites. AND if the FDA states it’s harmful- that’s pretty significant because the FDA is a joke on approving other harmful toxins we ingest every day.

    Drink up- mama!

  • Jamie

    I am a pediatric nurse and used to work in an ob setting. I haven’t read all the current studies but we used to recommend of course that alcohol be completely abstained from during pregnancy. However, off the record, based on research and experience many of the physicians i worked with felt that if the woman drank, if at all, drinking in the first trimester was most likely to cause damage that would lead to FAS. This was because of the critical development of the neurological system happening then. It would never be said out loud, but since the latter weeks the baby is basically just gaining weight and growing a small exposure to alcohol was unlikely to cause any harm. Unfortunately there were often problems with women who would binge drink early in pregnancy, usually before they knew, and even though they didn’t drink at all afterwards that early, extreme exposure would do damage to cause significant developmental delays. :(

  • missminute

    I find a lot of the same women who rage against drinking and caffeine during pregnancy are stuffing their bodies full of chemically laden junk food all through their own pregnancies, and still think being pregnant is their entry to the “get fat as possible eating as much shit as I can” Olympics.

    • Rebecca J

      I know right? Let’s tai about what all the chemicals in processed food might be doing to an unborn baby. This talk about absolutely no alcohol is nuts, no one in Europe thinks that a pregnant woman can’t have a half a glass of wine with dinner.

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  • Suanne

    I read stuff like this and thank GOD I will never be pregnant again.

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  • Be

    When I hear of all of the newest ‘guidelines’ for pregnant women, one would think that the billions of children to have ever been born all turned out to be mentally handicapped or missing body parts or, basically, f*cked up. It confuses me. Are we to believe those of my grandparents’ generation, eg, were the exception to a rule? (Also, can it be noted that any behavior that the mother has prior to pregnancy that is ‘chronic’, stopping abruptly is far worse for the baby than weening herself off? If you smoke, for example, stopping cold turkey is crazy stressful for the fetus.)

    The actual submission. make my head hurt. Josie is a tw*t.

  • Charles Haire

    As a a 43 year survivor of FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome) I think it;s sad to see people making fun of a situation thats caused a lot of struggles for innocent people such as myself. Why don’t you try to take care of an FAS child for a day and see if ou still think it’s funny . I have been readng the posts here and wondering if you knew me would you feel the same way. If you saw the struggles I face as a result of bad choice my birth mother made would you still feel the same way. You may not have known anyone with FAS bebore. Let me introduce myself My name is Charles Haire. and I have FAS. is where you can learn more about me and see how FAS affects my day today life.

  • vicentewakk

    Make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals in your daily diet by taking a prenatal vitamin supplement.