When it comes to mothers and alcohol, a lot of people have a lot of opinions. How much if any alcohol consumption is OK is a matter of intense debate. A lot of that comes from strangers. (I once got told off for drinking while pregnant by a drunk stranger at a cocktail bar, while I was drinking an alcohol-free mojito.) It’s a bit more complicated when the difference of opinion is with your partner, though. Now a Mumsnet user has inspired a pretty intense debate after starting a discussion thread about “being mad at my partner for drinking while pregnant.”

“Our second baby is due in a few months and all through pregnancy my wife has drank alcohol,” Mumsnet user Coldair wrote. “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. 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. ”

We want our partners to be on board with our health and medical decisions, but we also don’t want them making decisions for us. Life would be a lot easier if we all automatically agreed on everything, but unfortunately that isn’t the case.

The mother said a glass of beer or wine every other day is fine, and that demanding complete abstention was overreacting. Coldair wasn’t having it, though.

“I’ve found many research papers that disagree with this,” she wrote.

Research is not conclusive

Part of the problem with this particular issue is that there really are studies and doctors to support both the low-drinking and no-drinking perspectives. The CDC says there is no known safe amount of alcohol to use while pregnant or trying to get pregnant. A recent study indicated that drinking while pregnant can even affect a baby’s facial features.

On the other hand, a 2012 study from Denmark indicated that low to moderate alcohol consumption while pregnant won’t harm a fetus. A later study even suggested that kids whose mothers did not entirely abstain from alcohol during pregnancy had better mental health than those whose parents gave up alcohol completely. A study published last month indicated that four units a week was not enough to harm a fetus.

The thread got heated

Predictably, Coldair’s thread became extremely heated. There have been 499 comments so far, and opinions are split between whether Coldair should butt out because her partner is the one gestating the fetus, and whether Coldair’s partner is the one who is wrong for drinking any amount while pregnant. (It took only two responses before someone asked Coldair if her wife was an alcoholic.)

In the initial post, Coldair asked what other people would do in her situation. The only thing she can do about it is talk to her partner in real life, which she says they’ve already done to death. But if they’ve already talked about it, there’s not really anything Coldair can do. Coldair herself says her partner is a wonderful, conscientious mother who does a great job of taking care of herself and her babies. But Coldair hasn’t convinced her partner to abstain, and she can’t physically force her to do so. A partner can give input, but in the end, it’s the pregnant person’s choice.

Do you think the pregnant woman is being unreasonable? Let us know in the comments.

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(Image: iStockPhoto / Highwaystarz-Photography)