I'm Anthony Baker and I'm tired of old fashioned ways of stopping our #1 birth defect, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Well I've created "Fetuses Against FASD" and the culmination of my work, "The Safe Pregnancy Vision." Join me in helping when the fetus says, "Speak For Me."
While recently awaiting the arrival of a new baby, Elizabeth
Dacey-Fondelius found herself not so much restricted by her bulging belly as by
the opinions of those around her - especially when it came to alcohol
Cultural taboos vary from country to country, yet you’d think that
medical advice would be internationally uniform. But it’s far from uniform, and
nowhere near in agreement especially when you mix pregnancy, breastfeeding and
alcohol. While all experts have access to the same research and studies,
different countries interpret and advise based on culture and political whim.
Zero tolerance for alcohol has been the general norm here in
Sweden for quite a while. Americans take it to its most extreme with no-go
zones condemning not only alcohol and smoking but all forms of caffeine.
Coffee, cola and even chocolate are off limits to the mother-to-be. Until
recently moderate alcohol consumption was okay for pregnant and breast feeding
mothers in the UK.
However, the new advisory of zero tolerance for mothers has
recently stirred up controversy in Britain. I sympathize with the mums like Zoe
Williams who wrote a great piece in the Guardian. I agree strongly with her
that much of the popular advice to pregnant women is unnecessarily restrictive.
The strict alcohol consumption guidelines set up by Swedish, UK or
US health care authorities, agencies and associations all share the aura of
scientific and medical credibility. However, a study in 2006 by the British
Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology concluded that there was no convincing
evidence of adverse effects of prenatal alcohol exposure at low to moderate
levels, where moderate was defined as 10.5 units per week (not at one sitting). (Fetuswinning here: 10.5 units a week = 1.5 units a day. A unit is 1 beer. Sticking with beer, so, would you say, drinking gals, that you would drink the equivalent of 1.5 beers every day until your child is born? Doesn't that sound at all dangerous?)
Messages to eliminate all alcohol are purely motivated by the true
danger of a fetus’ exposure to high levels of alcohol which results in Fetal Alcohol
Spectrum Disorders (FASD).
In my first pregnancy I thought I’d be upfront and honest. I had
every intention of abstaining from alcohol, however I would sporadically
partake of the grape should the occasion call for it. Instead of the midwife
applauding me for my prudent response from a responsible mother-to-be, she
started rambling off medical studies linking alcohol to pretty much anything that
sounded even remotely scary.
That’s when I decided to play it safe from there on in and answer
when asked how much I drink: “I abstain totally from any alcohol intake under
any and all circumstances while pregnant and breastfeeding.” (fetuswinning here: it is important to know here that studies are always evaluated by the given numbers even though it is true that not all women tell the truth (above) about consumption. There is a tendency to under-report volume of alcohol consumption. Some don't want to look bad, even on a piece of paper in a survey.)
In 2005, the Surgeon General, Dr. Carmona, urged “Women who are
pregnant or who may become pregnant to abstain from alcohol.” If you take that
literally, you are talking about every woman of child-bearing age. (fetuswinning here: True, but if you are celibate, don't worry. It's just that with sexually active women, it would be a good idea practice "a pregnancy strip detail, as in army detail. Must be done.)
In Sweden they add guilt to the fear using the zero tolerance
argument, “You wouldn’t drive a car after drinking a glass of wine because your
judgment is impaired; think of the bad judgments you could make to put your
unborn child at risk.” It makes me wonder how anyone allows me to make any
decisions on my own at all.
How do you decide how much
is too much and how little is harmless? I don’t have the answer, but a pregnant
friend living in French-speaking Switzerland told me that the literature she
read in French advised women to not have more than one glass of wine per day.
Perhaps that’s too liberal for the zero-tolerance brigade, but something to
keep in mind when "weighing" “medical advice”. (fetuswinning here: "weighing"? That's ambivalence - make a decision - tip the scale. Tip it towards the evidence of danger.)
(fetuswinning here: Thanks Elizabeth.)
Some of E's Resonses
I don't know why
someone in Sweden would complain about this kind of attitude.
A person who enjoys the benefits of a government-run health care
system has no reason to complain when they find themselves under constant
pressure, criticism, etc. about the decisions they make that affect the health
of themselves and others.
If your living in Canda your living under socialism as well.
I asked my OB/GYN what he recommends, just out of curiosity, and
he said he tells his patients they can have a couple glasses of wine a week.
and even chocolate are off limits to the mother-to-be.
I tell you what . . . if I can't have Diet Coke, that baby ain't happenin'.
I cannot function without Diet Coke, and I am not ashamed to admit it. (fetuswinning here: Rigorous honesty - that's what we need.)
Heh, I’m not even pregnant yet and I’ve been trying to cut the
caffeine way back... it’s really hard. Diet Coke makes the world start.
On the other hand, if you can’t give up alcohol for nine months
when you know you’re pregnant it seems to me like there’s an alcohol issue.
“Zero tolerance for alcohol has been the general norm here in Sweden for
quite a while. Americans take it to its most extreme with no-go zones condemning
not only alcohol and smoking but all forms of caffeine. Coffee, cola and even
chocolate are off limits to the mother-to-be.”