Last weekend was a dry one. I visited my sister in San Diego to celebrate the future arrival of her newest family member. Preggo and proud, she was just short of waddling at seven months and looking radiant as ever. I never got to see her the last time she was pregnant. But it’s true… she had that ‘glow.’
And I? I was happily spending a few days free of toxins. A break is always refreshing. But writing this now, I recall how great that first sip was with dinner the night I returned.
My sister and I touched upon the topic a bit during the visit: the controversial decision of whether or not to drink during the pregnancy. She has always had a wild strand spiraling throughout her DNA, making it hard for me to imagine that she could ever keep from a glass here and there. And she admitted she had maybe two once she well into her second trimester. But for the most part, she just didn’t want to risk it. It was a decision her and her hubby made together, so he too would abstain.
It was a sobering thought. What would I do in that situation? Take a hiatus for nine months? I certainly couldn’t imagine that, and I was immediately interested in researching the topic. Getting loaded is one thing, but a few occasional sips here and there (if you even crave it) has always seemed relatively harmless and possibly, dare I say, beneficial, if at certain moments it has the ability to calm the carrier or simply enrich a meal.
Latest research largely confirms my own biased suspicion. In fact, it was only last October that Discovery News released an article put out by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health that followed nearly 12,000 children over a five year period of time and found that not only was it fine to have a glass or even two a week during pregnancy, there was evidence that those children actually performed better on cognitive and behavioral testing than those who were children of moms who abstained (leave it to the British to research this topic so thoroughly). One must keep in mind, however, that the nondrinkers and those who held back only during pregnancy made up 66% of the subjects, while those who were labeled ‘light’ drinkers (one to two drinks per week) only made up 26%. They didn’t make mention of it, but I am guessing a few bad eggs in the first bunch (or a few exceptionally advanced eggs in the latter) are enough to pull the averages overall. Better to have even percentages for accurate representations.
Obviously, heavy drinking is another category altogether. No one benefits from that–pregnant or not.
Although no one is bold enough to declare that occasional alcohol intake is truly better for the fetus, this finding certainly leaves the light drinker feeling a little less guilty. It is a choice every mom must make, and it is a very personal choice.
Though it seems my choice has already been made, it really hasn’t. A million thoughts run through one’s mind when carrying another human being in your being. It is no longer about you. From the very beginning, you must share your body and decision-making with a little helpless human. You are their first contact with the world. So I leave this on a very open-ended note. Know your body and be comfortable with the decisions you make for your body. Keep in moderation everything regardless whether wine, beer, ice cream, pickles, coffee, fish, cheese, etc. Research constantly changes, so you sometimes have to just trust in your instincts.