Pregnancy is supposed to be the happiest time in a woman’s life, or so says every person I came across while pregnant with my now two and a half year old daughter and now in the beginning of my third trimester with my second daughter. When someone pushes this belief on me, I smile and nod and politely go about my business at hand. I don’t believe for one second that pregnancy is the happiest time in a woman’s life. I believe that pregnancy is wonderful, miraculous and oh-so important, but let’s be honest: it’s not the best time I’ve had “ever in my whole entire life”. I love both my daughter’s endlessly and wanted to be pregnant with each more than anything I’ve ever wanted, but pregnancy, and all that goes with it isn’t “super-fabulous” – as quoted to me by the overly perky cashier at my grocery store.
Sciatic nerve pain, back aches, fatigue, nausea and maternity jeans – for lack of better term – suck. A severe lack of energy, 40 weeks of exhaustion and discomfort and being told to avoid more than half of my favorite foods and beverages does not equal fun in my book. The life growing inside of me, her heartbeat, her little feet and her tiny little kicks equal fun in my book. Until she’s big enough to send me running to the bathroom every five minutes and to make me feel as if though my ribs are being pushed right out of my body, and then it’s back to wondering why crazy people think this is the best time of their lives. And the worst part of pregnancy for me is the lack of good red wine. Every time my husband pours a glass of Pinot Noir I literally drool with envy. What I wouldn’t give for just one little taste of that dry deliciousness. Well, actually I wouldn’t give up the comfort of knowing I did every possible thing I could to protect my unborn child from harm. However, I still drool.
This brings me to my point. Recently, while enjoying date night at an upper-class, well-known restaurant with my husband we decided to sit at the bar for a few moments before our table was ready. After offering my husband the wine list (which he took, much to my jealous bitterness) the bartender asked if I’d like the martini list. I smiled and said, “Not unless you want me to kill my unborn child”, while resting one hand on my large, but very cute, baby bump. The bartender, whom I liked immediately when he didn’t stammer over a horrified apology, laughed and said he wasn’t interested in killing my baby but that I could have one glass of red wine per week, to which I replied, “Fabulous. I’m 27 weeks. I’ll have 27 glasses…you know, to make up for the weeks I didn’t have a glass.” We laughed, I sipped my sparkling water and he told us that his sister is an obstetrician who has no issue with her pregnant patients indulging in one 3 ounce glass of red wine a week.
Knowing that the controversy does exist over light to moderate drinking during pregnancy, I still am not comfortable imbibing even a little while pregnant. (Okay, okay, I’m lying. I did have a sip of my husband’s pinot that evening, but only because he decided it was the best he’d ever had.) Medical professionals disagree on the amount of alcohol that is safe to consume while pregnant and so therefore the answer is none. Tis best to err on the side of caution, as is the opinion of many. However, many doctors are fine with allowing pregnant women to indulge in that one small glass every week, especially once they reach the end of their pregnancies.
With that in mind, I’d like to know what YOU think. Pregnant women, non-pregnant women, men, everyone: what is your stance on drinking one 3 ounce glass of the world’s best pinot noir during the last trimester of pregnancy? Remember: opinions are like – well, you know what they’re like – and everyone has one, and I want to hear them all, so be kind to one another. I’ll leave you with my opinion on drinking during pregnancy: To each his own. It isn’t my personal choice to do so, but at the same time I will not judge a woman who, at 39 weeks pregnant, decides to have three ounces of red wine. In fact, I’d probably be envious that I don’t have the you-know-what’s to have one myself.