CASE STUDY: Miriam in Wiltshire
If you worked in a pub or a hotel bar or anywhere else that sold alcohol (perhaps you do?), and a heavily pregnant woman strolled in alone, sat down and ordered a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc to drink all by herself, would you serve her or refuse to?
Hmm. Not easy, is it? Of course, one’s first instinct is to say: Tell me to mind my own business, Madam, but are you sure you should be drinking? I mean, what about the baby?
In response to this, you could get an earful of abuse (and possibly a right-hander!). You could even lose your job. After all, you’re paid to serve drinks; you’re not a social worker, right?
When single mother Miriam (34) in Devizes was initially refused a drink at her local hostelry in the seventh month of her pregnancy, she almost went berserk: All I thought about was getting my own needs met; and God did I need that wine. I’d been thinking about it all day. When the barman questioned me as to whether I should be drinking alcohol or not, I wanted to slap his face, to be quite honest.
So, did Miriam get her bottle of plonk?
Yes. I made such a fuss, I think it was just easier in the end for the pub to serve me. I was even making awful remarks about how I was drinking for two now. The next day, I felt so ashamed of my behaviour that I rang to apologise. The barman was only trying to be nice, to help me, to protect me and my then unborn baby. I was so lucky that Alicia was born completely normal. I literally got away with murder. I mean, stillbirths and miscarriages can occur as a result of alcoholism. That happens all the time, apparently.
Alcoholism and pregnancy risks some key facts:
Alcohol abuse during pregnancy can:
Treble the risk of miscarriage (even a single bottle of wine per week can cause this)
Permanently damage your baby’s brain cells
Cause disfigurements to your baby’s face
Stunt organ, limb and brain growth
Cause movement, co-ordination and mobility problems
Cause learning difficulties and behavioural problems later on
How much alcohol IS safe to drink during pregnancy?
The safest option is to have an alcohol-free pregnancy, of course. But if you simply HAVE to have a drink at some point during the week, then the current Government advice for pregnant women is to drink no more than four units of alcohol (a unit equals a glass of wine or a pint of beer) a week, although it does say that to give your baby the very best chance of being ‘birth-defect free’.