« Bellies and Babies | Main | Are you in labor? »

January 17, 2008



What is the significance of a family history of alcoholism though? Surely if an woman makes an autonomous choice to have a glass of wine, then her family history is irrelevant?

Are we going to say 'no' to women like me, for whom alcoholism tears a vicious path through their family? Or are we just covering our backs?


The significance of a family history of alcoholism could be that the mom doesn't drink and so to suggest she drink wine isn't realistic or it could be that the history of alcoholism was suspected to be genetic and could be passed to the baby and so while mom might drink wine she might not feel comfortable drinking wine while pregnant. As someone who has seen alcoholism wreak havoc on both sides of the family, I have learned to be very respectful of people's views on the issue and since I am advocating a "why not" attitude about wine in labor, I thought I should add the caveat that things might be approached differently if there was a history of alcoholism in the family. In the end it is the woman's decision (I would choose to have wine, despite my history, but that is me) but I think the midwife should understand the woman's background before advocating wine.


I see... also now thinking perhaps the mother could be an alcoholic... the last thing an alcoholic woman wants is a midwife, of all people,advocating a drink.

That's really interesting!

katie g

I don't understand how alcohol is seen as more dangerous for a mother/baby than Morphine or Tylenol. Morphine is much more potent, administered intravenously, and a respiratory suppressant. Tylenol is notoriously hepatatoxic. 1000mg is the MAXIMUM recommended DAILY dose.

In my opinion, alcohol is as demonized as midwifery, and the two run together historically.

"Midwives and nurses mediated the mysteries of birth, procreation, illness and death. They touched the untouchable, handled excrement and vomit as well as milk, swaddled the dead as well as the newborn. They brewed medicines from plants and roots, and presided over neighborhood gatherings of women."
- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
A Midwife's Tale (1990). (from http://www.alestreetnews.com/articles/14_5_10.htm)

Why do we trust pharmaceuticals more than our womanly instincts?

Of course if the mom has a personal history of alcoholism (which should be discussed prenatally), it would be contraindicated.

Also, I would recommend a beer or a glass of sulfite-free wine.


I totally agree! I think it is hilarious how women won't touch a drop of wine in pregnancy and then wheel into the hospital for an epidural.


i agree with katie g. also there's no prove that a single glass of wine causes fetal alcohol syndrome.


I think it's always a good idea to be sensitive to a woman's choices and needs... perhaps simply discussing options during a quiet moment in the last trimester... one of those, by the way, if this situation comes up, wine might help; would that be an acceptable alternative to morphine?

Um. I'd take a glass of wine over morphine any day.

The night I went into labor with my son, I ate the weirdest meal ever -- and probably the most food I'd ever ate. Hot dogs and hamburgers, in the multiples. A huge plate of spinach. Cole slaw. A mountain of food. I was ravenous. I was amazed by the amount of protein I packed away that night, sitting outside by the coy pond, enjoying the unusually warm, spring night.

I guess I was getting ready for the sprint of a lifetime!


Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is only a concern if alcohol is consumed during a time of development. By 35wks all that's still possibly developing is the lungs and the baby is building up fat stores.
I certainly wouldn't advocate bing drinking in the 3rd trimester but like a previous commenter pointed out a glass of wine at an average alcohol volume of 10% is much better than a Narcotic!! I think the only reason why the medical profession would see Morphine as an acceptable risk is because it's managed by them. Where as alcohol can be self administered. I'm sure everyone would have freaked out if she had gotten Morphine off the street! ;)
given the topic and the general populations concern over alcohol consumption by pregnant women I found this abstract to be rather interesting... http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/73/10/1165


Thanks for the comment Camie! Here is another study that let's us assuage our fears about moderate alcohol use in pregnancy: http://empoweredbirth.typepad.com/empowering_birth_blog/2007/08/enjoy-your-wine.html. I think that in the US we are much more nervous about moderate alcohol consumption in pregnancy then the rest of the world.


I don't drink at all normally but I think the same, why do we see a difference between pharmaceutical drugs and those more readily available such as wine. I would rather drink wine than take morphein but hopefully I can endure with neither. I may have had a slight hind water leak and when I did a self internal exam (as I often did pre pregnancy to check my fertility) it seemed complete mush in there! Ive checked it a few times in pregnancy and its been recognisable but I really dont know if my cervix is heaps close to the entrance now or if it is so effaced I couldn't tell the difference. That was 2 nights ago and then I woke 3 times with dampness on my thighs??? Dunno if I should try the wine thing or leave it longer. Any thoughts? Im 32 weeks today and planning a home birth


Gem, It is not necessarily amniotic fluid as some women have lots of watery discharge near term but I would definitely call your care provider to assess/test for the presence of amniotic fluid. Wine, as used by midwives, is for relaxing mom/slowing down (sometimes they stop) contractions. You might want to read this page on ruptured membranes if you/your care provider decides that is what is going on: http://www.joyousbirth.info/articles/waterbreakguideline.html. Just my thoughts, I am not a midwife yet :-). Good luck and let me know what happens!

Affiliate Promotion

Congratulations on your page, it is really interesting

Affiliate Promotion

Congratulations on your page, it is really interesting

Children Anxiety Disorder

I really like your writting style...


I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



Generic Viagra

I find very interesting this information about Premature Labor I think that this is very difficult to mother and her baby.Brian N. Giddens

Bumbo Baby

Great Post. Very interesting. Better during pregnancy, a mother should not consume alcohol to maintain the safety of her baby, she also had to rest quite so when the give birth did not happen the things harmful to themselves and their babies


Sometimes the premature labor is too advanced to be stopped. In fact, recent studies show that one in ten births around the world is premature.

The comments to this entry are closed.