pregnancy and alcoholPounding a glass of cab with a beach ball under my shirt has become my idea of a fun Friday night. I also have to admit that I roll my eyes big time when I see the dreaded Facebook post from a new mommy-to-be that goes a little something like this:

Out with the hubs at Rockbottom Brewery. Don’t worry – nothing to drink for me! Sparkling water, a pepperoni pizza, and my baby bump. Does it get any better than this? #love #baby #fridaynight

I would have to argue that it does. If you were writing that “sanctimommious” Facebook post with a brewski in hand, then maybe, just maybe, I would believe that you were deliriously happy watching your “hubs” down a few beers as you were bestowed the glorious honor of being his designated driver for 10 months in a row.

I have always been a rule follower, which may make it hard to believe that I set a few controversial rules for myself during both of my pregnancies. I have always felt turned off by total mommy martyrdom during pregnancy – where you can’t have a single taboo food or drink for 10 long months.

I did a little bit of research and decided to set my own rules for pregnancy:

  1. Two glasses of wine every week.
  2. Two cups of coffee a day.
  3. Rinse and repeat.

I personally feel that pregnancy is hard and long enough without total, desert-island style deprivation. I’ve also read enough mommy forums and boards to know that this is hardly a popular opinion.

Consider this interesting perspective from a recent BabyCenter article highlighting a new study that says one drink a day may be perfectly okay for your little bundle of joy. (You read that right – one drink a day. Yippee!)

One commenter said:

Sorry, but someone that drinks alcohol every single day of their lives and can not go without, is an alcoholic.

To which another commenter replied:

A person that has a glass of wine everyday is an alcoholic?!!! I grew up in Italy and most adults have a glass of wine with their lunch and dinner. According to you, half of the country has a serious alcohol problem… How ignorant of you!

I happen to agree wholeheartedly with commenter #2. (I also added in my two cents in the next comment.) Even though this topic sparked a full-blown to-drink-or-not-to-drink debate, I was glad to see even more research coming out about how pregnancy and drinking can mix.

I wouldn’t consider myself to be an alcoholic or coffee addict (Okay, maybe the latter). I also didn’t see it necessary to change my life 100 percent the moment I saw a plus sign on a pregnancy test. It’s hard enough to adjust to the idea of bringing a new life into the world without completely altering your quality of life.

And it’s about this time that people will start to argue, boo, or hate me altogether because: Isn’t nine months of deprivation a worthwhile sacrifice for the life of your baby? Well, yes and no.

My argument is: Why deprive yourself of a few substances that can be enjoyed in moderation when you don’t have to?

My issue with complete abstinence during pregnancy is that it seems unnecessary. If you can have a cup of coffee in the morning, a roll of sushi for dinner, and a glass of wine to wash it down, why wouldn’t you? Before you come knocking on my door with a flaming bag of dog poo, take a gander at my all-time favorite top 20 pregnancy myths by TIME.

To me, it’s frustrating that pregnancy has to be a potentially unpleasant experience of total avoidance when it doesn’t have to be. If you’re someone that doesn’t enjoy alcohol, coffee, flying, sushi, getting your hair did, and so much more, this may not apply to you. But if you do, I encourage you to take charge of your own pregnancy experience, with some helpful research on your side.

That’s not to say that I didn’t get some strange looks ordering a glass of wine or beer in a restaurant a week from my due date. But growing a human life is pretty hard work. If you can’t have a glass of wine (or two) a week as a reward, it is a thankless job indeed. (I kid, I kid.)

As a conclusion to this inspirational tale of light drinking during pregnancy, I have to throw out the fact that I have two healthy boys at home. Both of my kids were born with a midwife, who was totally fine with my moderate drinking and caffeine habit. They haven’t had any major health issues, besides ear infections, colds, and all that fun stuff that comes with babyhood.

Whatever you do in your pregnancy is an entirely personal decision. I do wish for the sake of pregnant women everywhere, who feel deprived and cast aside with a baby-on-board, that “light drinking with child” would become less of a stigma. Until then, a toast to all the brave preggos: bottoms up!

(photo:  arcanericky)