Raising a Glass While Pregnant

Quinn says her drinking was ob-gyn-sanctioned in what she calls a “wink-wink” sort of way. “There are so many things you can’t do when you’re pregnant,” she says. “You stress yourself out about everything. Did I get enough water? Did I eat enough vegetables? The wine was just a nice way to put your feet up and not have to worry about that.”

Leah Callahan, who is 27 and lives in Worcester, gave birth to her first child, a boy, in October. She started having an occasional glass of wine (never more than four ounces, she says) at about six months. Though she didn’t discuss drinking with her doctor, she aimed to be healthy throughout. She ate right, exercised, and gained fewer than 20 pounds. Her blood work was normal. “I don’t feel like having a glass of wine made me a bad person, or a bad soon-to-be mom,” she says. “It helps me relax, and we all know pregnancy can be stressful.”

Something else to consider buying as a gift to bring to the next baby shower you’re attending: A nice bottle of wine. Boston Magazine’s feature this month looks at a bunch of upper middle class and educated women who have decided that drinking small amounts of alcohol while pregnant is a safe thing to do. Which: !!!

Last year, a few friends and I bought some tickets to go to a wine tasting at City Hall Restaurant in lower Manhattan, and we noticed that there was a very pregnant woman who was following behind us, and trying out each of the wines at the 33 stations in the restaurant. We were shocked, but quietly kept it to ourselves, of course, because it was none of our business. We decided we would just go home later to look up the amount of wine you can safely drink while pregnant, but by the time we left the tasting, we were a little tipsy, and promptly forgot. I’m just going to go with Laura Riley, the director of labor and delivery at Mass General, who has this to say in the story: “While I recognize that there are random studies suggesting that small amounts of alcohol in some women are probably safe, I feel that nine months is a relatively short period of time” to give up drinking, she says. “It’s clear that alcohol in some levels can cause babies to have fetal alcohol syndrome, which is characterized by gross restriction and facial abnormalities and mental retardation.” Better safe than sorry, I suppose.

ETA: This post required a much better consideration than I gave it, and apologize for it missing the mark. Here’s a much better consideration of this topic by Claire Zulkey from earlier this year.


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