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Do You Feel Guilty About Drinking Alcohol Before You Knew You Were Pregnant?

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Do You Feel Guilty About Drinking Alcohol Before You Knew You Were Pregnant?

It’s no secret that about a week before I knew I was pregnant, Sam and I had a night out where there was plenty of free-flowing champagne and I had more than a few glasses.

So, naturally, a week later when I found out I was pregnant, my Mum asked me how I was feeling about having all those drinks the week before.

I said to her that alcohol and pregnancy is something I have taken a keen interest in over the past year and as far as I know, it shouldn’t really make a difference to the development of the foetus at such an early stage.

I am no Doctor, so don’t go taking any of this information on board as true and correct, as it is only information I have learned from googling, so I cannot vouch for the accuracy of it on this occasion (plus, as far as I know there is no conclusive evidence around sporadic drinking, binge drinking or it’s impact on foetal development during pregnancy and since it’s not really ethical to study it… we might not ever really know!!)

Here’s an extract from The Embryo Project Encyclopedia a website I quite like, that talks through fetal development and alcohol:

“In the first two weeks following fertilization, excessive alcohol consumption does not generally have a negative effect on the zygote and emerging blastocyst (pre-embryo). Maternal consumption of alcohol during this time can prevent proper implantation of the blastocyst in the uterus, resulting in an increased rate of resorption or early termination of the pregnancy, generally before a woman realizes she is pregnant. The potential for the cells in the blastocyst to become any cell lineage in the body generally confers protection against the negative effects that alcohol has on specific cellular populations.”

(in case all that weeks stuff is confusing, my understanding is that here they are referring to what would be week’s 3 and 4)

If you’re interested in reading the full article, check out this link

Anyway, as far as I know, at around what would technically be “week 3” of pregnancy, you’re not really “pregnant” yet nor are you passing anything on to the soon-to-be embryo (I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure at that stage it’s developing from a zygote to a blastocyst based on the slowly increasing hormones in your body, and gearing up for implantation in the uterus, which happens at roughly 4-ish weeks).

So, to be honest with you, I haven’t been that fussy about what I eat or drink this time around.

When we first started trying to have a baby, I was really good. I ate really healthy, attended the gym regularly, and limited my alcohol consumption to 2 drinks on any 1 occasion.

But since we have been trying for nearly a year now and we have already had 2 miscarriages that have nothing at all to do with diet, exercise or even alcohol consumption for that matter, I’d kind of just gotten sick of “doing the right thing” all the time “just in case I might be pregnant”.

So a while back I decided that I would just do what ever I would normally do and not limit my lifestyle too much based on “what if’s”.

As one of my friends said “you just can’t live your life like that”.

I do also know plenty of people who were drinking by accident before they knew they were pregnant, and seriously, all their babies turned out fine.

I don’t want you to think I’m advocating for drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Of course we all know about the relationship between long-term, repeated exposure to alcohol and the potential impact of resulting FAS on babies, which I just want to point out is not the same as a one-off night with a few too many drinks before you’re actually pregnant.

In which case, I don’t think there is any reason to feel guilty about something that is in the past, that you clearly can’t change, and probably won’t have any impact on your future anyway.

On that point, I do think that if you do choose to have the occasional glass of vino when pregnant, that should be completely up to you and not judged by anybody (especially since there is no evidence to say that the occasional glass makes any difference)!

So, if you’re in the same scenario, I hope you won’t feel guilty about having a few drinks before you knew any different (and if you want to see a few similar stories that might make you feel better… and might make your hair curl a little too, check out this thread from Baby Centre).

Before you do though… I would love to know:

Did you drink alcohol before you knew you were pregnant?
Do you try to limit your alcohol intake (amongst other things) “just in case” you might be pregnant?
Do you think the occasional glass of wine during pregnancy is OK?

Look forward to hearing your thoughts! Remember, you can comment anonymously if you wish (even I won’t know who you are!) 😉

 

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8 Replies to “Do You Feel Guilty About Drinking Alcohol Before You Knew You Were Pregnant?”

  1. I think about this often as we are thinking of starting to try to have kids within the next year. (And you know how near and dear my glass of wine in the evening is!)
    But I like your friend’s advice. “You just can’t live your life like that.”
    I will obviously lower my intake before we find out we’re pregnant, and completely eliminate it throughout the entire time I’m pregnant. But I don’t want to give it up prior to pregnancy! I don’t think I can. Eek.

  2. I drank before I knew I was pregnant. Not a crazy amount but I wasn’t trying to get pregnant and it came as a shock to me. I did crave a glass of wine when pregnant and did try to have a glass on several occasions but I couldn’t. That was just me. I don’t advocate or condone others for making their own choices.

  3. I’ve never been pregnant, but I agree with you – I think moms shouldn’t feel guilty for drinking before they knew they were pregnant. I know a friend of mine who drank a LOT when she was technically “pregnant” but she didn’t know and her son was fine! I’m sure there are really rare, special cases, but these things happen! You didn’t know!

    -Lauren

  4. It’s kind of ironic that when I was with my ex we were about to go out to happy hour when my ex started telling me things about being sensitive in certain areas and other things and I suggested she might be pregnant. She decided not to have that drink and it turned out she was. But I don’t think you can really blame yourself for having something to drink before you know you are pregnant.

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