I got a little thank you card from a cousin the other day for a baby gift. We had gone over to see her and Daddy-to-be about a week before she was due. She looked radiant and ready to pop.
Interestingly, this woman - L - is not a proponent of completely abstaining since she's been pregnant and has been known to have a small glass (or two) of wine in the evening. Strange women have been known to walk up to her in restaurants and berate her. Big mistake. L is not the sort of person whose going to sit there and let you run her life - or her fetus. Instead, she'll take you down to Chinatown with her rather eloquent defense of how a small amount of alcohol is actually 'optimal' for the development of the baby.
Now I'm not going to get into the complicated issue of whether or not women should drink during pregnancy too deeply because I think that's a personal choice. But new research is surfacing to support the idea that drinking in moderation might be absolutely fine for pregnant women.
According to Britain's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), a pregnant woman can safely drink 1.5 units of alcohol a day without harming her baby (though she should avoid drinking during the first trimester to prevent miscarriage). NICE stipulated that a unit of alcohol is a small glass of wine, a half pint of regular strength lager, or one alcopop/cooler. A little red wine with dinner at night? For some pregnant women, that'll be "nice" to know.
What I do find interesting is how L signed off the card. She said that she can't wait until we can get together for "play dates." Even with a small amount of wine when she feels she wants it, she said she really can't wait to feel a buzz again. "Oh, how I miss wine," she wrote. "Love always, L."
It made me laugh. Because I have another friend who was on mat leave a couple of years ago and I loved going over to her place and having a bottle of wine or lunch in the afternoon. We'd take the baby (and pre-pumped breast milk) with us and have a great time. All that ended when she went back to work of course and put the baby in daycare.
But I'm definitely looking forward to having a new play date mate soon - L's baby was born last week. A beautiful, healthy, 8 pound 7 ounce girl named E. Well, not E - that would be weird. But you get my point.
Welcome to the world, E! See you and Mommy soon for our first play date! Milk for you, young lady.
"Now pregnant women are told it IS safe to drink a glass fo wine a day," by Fiona MacCrae, Daily Mail, October 10, 2007, dailymail.co.uk