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  #1  
Old 08-04-2007, 12:30 PM
DMark DMark is offline
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Pregnant Women: Smoking And Drinking

In a scene from a recent film depicting the 60's, a very pregnant woman was sitting at a bar smoking a cigarette and drinking a martini; in the new television series set in the 60's (Mad Men) there was another scene of a pregnant woman drinking and smoking at a party. I think there are even scenes in I Love Lucy with her smoking while she was pregnant. That was simply the way of life back then and nobody thought a thing about it.

I would imagine that many of us on this board were born in age when women did the same thing. I know that my mother smoked and drank (moderately) while she was pregnant with all three of her children. We all turned out OK.

Now, it is considered reckless and irresponsible for a pregnant woman to even be within 100 yards of smoke, let alone light one up, and a sip of wine seems to be a sin that will most certainly cause fetal alcohol syndrome.

While I don't doubt that chain smoking and drinking into a stupor is probably not the healthiest of habits for a pregnant woman, I wonder if research has shown a marked decrease in infant mortality and/or illnesses since these activities have reached the stigma of moral (and partially legal) taboo?

Don't get me wrong: I am not suggesting turning back the clock and have pregnant women turn into barflies and go through a pack of Kools in an evening! There are enough problems with childbirth that every step in the right direction towards the health of a baby should indeed be taken into consideration.

I am just wondering aloud if this rather huge change in public perception of good and bad habits for pregnant women has actually paid off in the long run?

Also, how many women here on the boards have stopped smoking and drinking cold turkey when they discovered they were pregnant - assuming you smoked and/or drank prior to the news?
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  #2  
Old 08-04-2007, 12:46 PM
boytyperanma boytyperanma is offline
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I don't know much about smoking while pregnant but not drinking while pregnant is mostly an American thing. Rather then trying to explain drinking during pregnancy in moderation is OK, Doctors went with a blanket don't drink while pregnant. The amount of unhealthy babies in Europe is no higher do to drinking during pregnancy then in America.
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Old 08-04-2007, 12:58 PM
Green Cymbeline Green Cymbeline is offline
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Just a personal anecdote, my mom smoked when she was pregnant with my brother and I, and we came out OK.
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  #4  
Old 08-04-2007, 12:58 PM
August West August West is online now
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I think the attitude toward drinking while pregnant is starting to change here in the U.S. as well. IANAD, but there is no harm in a pregnant woman drinking a beer now and then. Recently pregnant friends of mine didn't abstain from the occasional beer and there were no ill effects.
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Old 08-04-2007, 01:30 PM
betenoir betenoir is offline
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I too don't know about smoking. It doesn't seem like a good idea. Don't think it will kill them, (although if you're a chain smoker, well you have to consider where the fetus is getting their oxygen. They don't have your lungs yet.)

But as far as alchol it's occured to me that the overwelming majority of humanity for at least for the past 10,000 years have been born to woman who drank while they were pregnant. And most of us...well some of us are jerks, but most of us worked out ok. Built a civilisation, whatnot.

It's all a matter of extremes.
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Old 08-04-2007, 01:36 PM
jjimm jjimm is offline
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My mother got the drunkest she's ever been (on sangria while on vacation in Spain) while pregnant with me. And I turned out fine - apart from being a stunted alcoholic.
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  #7  
Old 08-04-2007, 01:52 PM
pool pool is offline
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I think the main risk is a pregnant woman who drinks very early on in the pregnancy.


Edit: Also found this on wiki:

Quote:
Tobacco (cigarette) smokers have an increased risk of miscarriage.[15] An increase in miscarriage is also associated with the father being a cigarette smoker.[2] The husband study observed a 4% increased risk for husbands who smoke less than 20 cigarettes/day, and an 81% increased risk for husbands who smoke 20 or more cigarettes/day.

Last edited by pool; 08-04-2007 at 01:55 PM..
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  #8  
Old 08-04-2007, 01:55 PM
kung fu lola kung fu lola is offline
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My understanding is this: Every pregnancy is different, and there is no way of telling how alcohol will affect the fetus. One beer in the sixteenth week is likely to cause no harm, but in a handful of women, it is possible that it can impair cognitive development. Essentially, it's "Better safe than sorry". The more recent term FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder) was created because it was observed that moderate drinking during pregnancy was having negative effects on children's "reasoning and judgement skills". Hmm. It would explain some of my peers behaviour.

As for smoking, there is a theory that us Westerners are already exposed to so much crap via air pollution and other toxins that are turning up in breast milk and whatnot, that smoking is just the straw that breaks the camel's back. This explains why it wasn't as much a concern thirty years ago - did they have such a thing as smog advisories, where they would have to warn asthmatics and the elderly to stay inside?
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Old 08-04-2007, 01:55 PM
Unauthorized Cinnamon Unauthorized Cinnamon is offline
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Sounds like I'm in the mainstream here.

Smoking sounds like a bad idea, as it restricts oxygen supply to the fetus. Still, the dose makes the poison, and I don't think one cigarette will have an appreciable effect. The question is, who smokes just one cigarette?

Alcohol: I have the distinct impression the advice to abstain springs from the same well as the ubiquitous warning labels on products in the U.S. TPTB think (perhaps accurately) that most people can't use their brains, and allowing one drop of alcohol will "give permission" to women to get hammered all the time. They base the warnings on fetal alcohol syndrome, and say we don't know how little alcohol can cause it, but I really think a glass of wine with dinner, even on a regular basis, would be well below the threshold. I would worry about actually getting intoxicated, though.

I've never smoked, and rarely drink. Usually I will get a glass of cabernet sauvignon when I go to a steakhouse, and I haven't stopped doing that since getting pregnant.

ETA: kfl, I wasn't aware there were studies on moderate drinking - will have to check it out.

As for asthma and previous generations, I offer a darker flipside - babies who were susceptible were more likely to die, without modern interventions, so there were much fewer people to be worried about smog.

Last edited by Unauthorized Cinnamon; 08-04-2007 at 01:58 PM..
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Old 08-04-2007, 02:13 PM
Cub Mistress Cub Mistress is offline
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Babies of mothers who are regular smokers go through nicotine withdrawal after birth. They can be very unhappy and irritable for days to (possibly) a few weeks.

I smoked throughout my pregnancies. I have since apologized to my children for that. Even my doctor didn't make a big thing out of it at the time. Alcohol was a different story, I was warned strongly about using alcohol and did not drink at all.

When my mother was pregnant (late 50's) some doctors recommended smoking to help minimize weight gain during pregnancy.
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Old 08-04-2007, 03:53 PM
NinetyWt NinetyWt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMark
I am just wondering aloud if this rather huge change in public perception of good and bad habits for pregnant women has actually paid off in the long run?

Also, how many women here on the boards have stopped smoking and drinking cold turkey when they discovered they were pregnant - assuming you smoked and/or drank prior to the news?
I don't know if anyone could say "yes" or "no" to the question of whether it has paid off. I have seen two children born to an alcoholic mother who exhibited fetal alcohol syndrome. IIRC both children were two years old before they could walk; and each child's mind was affected - they were quite impaired. (I can't believe after that happened with the first one that the woman had another while drinking heavily!) If the admonition to refrain from drinking during pregnancy prevents other children from being born in such a state, I think it's worth it.

RE: your last question - I did. I quit for 7 years, actually. The day I found out I was expecting I threw my smokes away and did not touch a drink for 7 years.
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  #12  
Old 08-04-2007, 04:08 PM
fessie fessie is offline
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It makes me think of Gone With the Wind when Scarlett drank a fair amount of whiskey while pregnant with her second child. Her physician never told her not to drink while pregnant, because Ladies simply didn't drink anything stronger than "scuppernong wine". And yes, her daughter had some symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome.

As to smoking, my Mom smoked like hell when pregnant in the 60's and 70's because she wanted small babies. Actually, everybody smoked anyway back then. And people had no notion that bigger babies were healthier.
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  #13  
Old 08-04-2007, 05:07 PM
wendigo1974 wendigo1974 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unauthorized Cinnamon
Smoking sounds like a bad idea, as it restricts oxygen supply to the fetus.
How does it?
The baby feeds off oxygen in blood, it doesn't have a little straw which it pops into moms lungs with.
The baby extracts oxygen at the rate it needs and mom has to compensate.
Otherwise pregnant women would also be warned against holding their breath.

Last edited by wendigo1974; 08-04-2007 at 05:08 PM..
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  #14  
Old 08-04-2007, 05:27 PM
Hilarity N. Suze Hilarity N. Suze is offline
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I have my mother's old baby book--from the '40s--in which pregnant women were counseled not to have more than a couple of drinks a day, and to restrict cigarettes to under a pack a day. But: No swimming, and no driving, and no long walks in the later months.

When I had my children: in the '60s, everything was okay. Delivery was a completely doped-up affair, however long it took. Exercise was thought to send you into early labor (although it didn't).

In the '70s: Glass of wine prescribed at night to aid in sleeping. "moderate" smoking not even mentioned as a concern. Recommendation of NO drugs for labor & delivery.

In the '80s: Smoking beginning to be a concern. Moderate drinking okay according to my doctor, absolutely prohibited by the dr. of a friend pregnant at the same time. Unmedicated labor still highly recommended. (Why? Our mothers were doped to the gills, don't even REMEMBER labor, and we were okay.)

In the '90s: Quit drinking, quit smoking, keep exercising, don't get in a hot tub. (Rather willfully, I negotiated to be allowed to go into the steam room for no more than 7 minutes.) L&D drug of choice was epidural.

For what it's worth, I smoked during the first 3 pregnancies, quit immediately upon learning I was pregnant for the last. Guess which kid has asthma. Must have been those 7-minute sessions in the steam room.

The doctor I had in the '90s explained why drinking is a no-no. It's known that drinking causes fetal alcohol syndrome. What's not known is exactly how much alcohol it takes to threaten the fetus. Since we're humans, researchers cannot dose this woman with four drinks a day and another woman with two and a control group with none, in fact all that is known about the drinking habits of women whose babies have FAS is self-reported after the fact, i.e., "How much did you drink?" And anybody knows that when you self-report, the results are going to vary a whole lot. Somebody who said she never had more than one drink a day could be lying...people who think about these things don't actually believe that a moderate level of alcohol consumption causes bad things, but they just don't know.

For whoever asked, there was smog 30 years ago, there was smog 50 years ago, but there were not as many people living in the smog as there are today.
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  #15  
Old 08-04-2007, 05:51 PM
Delphine Delphine is offline
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I'm pregnant now and, while I've cut back drastically, I do admit to smoking up to 3 or 4 a day. My doctor made a note in the file but made no attempt to preach against this. On the other hand, she was strongly anti-alcohol in her original "how to take care of yourself" lecture. There's a new public service campaign around here called "Not a single drop" or some such. I'm not a drinker at all, so it's all academic to me, but my experience has not at all led me to believe that attitudes toward drinking during pregnancy are changing, at least around here.
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  #16  
Old 08-04-2007, 06:51 PM
Unauthorized Cinnamon Unauthorized Cinnamon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wendigo1974
How does it?
The baby feeds off oxygen in blood, it doesn't have a little straw which it pops into moms lungs with.
The baby extracts oxygen at the rate it needs and mom has to compensate.
Otherwise pregnant women would also be warned against holding their breath.
Just going by what the March of Dimes says. Though I believe in addition to compromising oxygen exchange in the lungs, smoking constricts blood vessels, so that may be a factor too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilarity N. Suze
Unmedicated labor still highly recommended. (Why? Our mothers were doped to the gills, don't even REMEMBER labor, and we were okay.)
I realize this may be joking, but it's my hobby horse, so let me climb on briefly. Medicated labor, including epidurals, increases the risks to mother and baby. It's each woman's decision whether the benefits outweigh those risks, but the research showing increased risk is clear.
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Old 08-04-2007, 07:09 PM
An Arky An Arky is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unauthorized Cinnamon
...

I realize this may be joking, but it's my hobby horse, so let me climb on briefly. Medicated labor, including epidurals, increases the risks to mother and baby. It's each woman's decision whether the benefits outweigh those risks, but the research showing increased risk is clear.
Boy, you're in for it now! Somebody's gonna come in here and yell "I'll have my baby however I want" or "my mom was doped up and I turned out fine" and all that.

Even given the evidence of increased risks and the "slippery slope" of medical intervention, 90-something percent of women around here have epidurals. Certainly, some have certain factors that require them to do so, some end up getting one if they're having back labor/excessively long labor or something.

My wife had all three of our children naturally (the third at home); I'm very proud of her determination...
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Old 08-04-2007, 07:18 PM
Vinyl Turnip Vinyl Turnip is offline
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When pregnant with me, my mother burned through a box of Tiparillos and a fifth of rye every day of her sainted life. Also liked to huff paint (she was partial to Dutch Boy brand, as the legend goes) in the parking lot during her break from the donkey show where she continued to headline, every night, right up until the blessed event. A born competitor, she entered and won a "punch me in the gut as hard as you can" contest on the eve of my arrival, as evidenced by the tin trophy still displayed proudly on her mantel.

All that and I turned out just fine, except that my brain has the appearance and consistency of warm aspic, and whenever I hear a bassoon I smell hair burning.
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Old 08-04-2007, 07:32 PM
bathsheba bathsheba is offline
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Screw that. I ate a load of soft cheese and drank as much coffee as I could to make up for the months I had my head down the toilet.

Not that there would be a next time but if there were, I would take up smoking, a pack a day. Smoking = small baby = less complications.
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Old 08-04-2007, 07:33 PM
norinew norinew is offline
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My big objection to smoking during pregnancy, which cub mistress already touched on, is that the baby then has to go through nicotine withdrawal; so you are condemning your baby to suffer through what you yourself will not. Of course, it's easy for me to take this view, because I've never been a smoker. My other objection is that if you smoke during pregnancy, you're much more likely to smoke around the baby when it's very young. I don't think anyone here would argue that any kinds of drugs, chemicals, etc. have more impact on smaller people (like babies) than larger people. Also, if you're smoking when you're holding a baby, you're more likely to burn the baby. Yeah, the baby will get over it, but it would still hurt at the time it happens.

As for drinking, as has been mentioned, no one can say for sure how much is "safe", so many doctors weigh in on the side of caution by saying "the only safe amount is none at all". I understand the attitude, but drank moderately (maybe two glasses of wine a month) during all three of my pregnancies.

The one habit I really did curb sharply was my caffeine habit. Until about a year ago, I routinely drank a pot of coffee a day. But I cut it back to two cups a day while I was pregnant (and I do mean 2 six-ounce cups; not two coffee mugs).
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  #21  
Old 08-04-2007, 07:37 PM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kung fu lola
My understanding is this: Every pregnancy is different, and there is no way of telling how alcohol will affect the fetus
Every pregnancy may be different, but as an aggregate smoking and drinking alcohol can have siginficant impacts upon fetal health. Both alcohol and nicotine readily cross the placental barrier, so a pregnant woman drinking or smoking is essentially doing the same thing as feeding an infant alcohol or putting a cigarette in it's mouth, which I think everyone will agree is inadvisable.

Of the two (in moderation) I'd say that smoking is worse overall--there is a marked difference in birthweight, likelyhood of natal complications, childhood development, and chronic pediatric illness--but even moderate consumption of alcohol early in pregnancy correlates to retarded or delayed mental development. Later in pregnancy an occasional glass of wine isn't much of a worry--it'll deliver about the same amount of alcohol found in many children's OTC medicines--but daily drinking, or any kind of binging is certainly ill-advised. The problem from cigarettes is more that it tends to be a very habitual thing. Many studies have indicated that regular consumption of even a moderate number of cigarettes a day increases the risk of cancer and chronic health problems, and it's not much of a stretch to believe that it may very well cause problems in pre-natal development as well. A single, occasional cigarette, however, probably isn't going to do any lasting harm.

Those harkening back to the good old days when pregnant women smoked like chimneys and drank like hard-boiled detectives need to take a gander at infant mortality and morbidity rates then and now. Even setting aside chronic health problems associated with smoking and drinking while pregnant, mortality and develment/birth problems were substantially worse in the past. It's hard to isolate this exclusively to drinking and smoking since medical notions about what constituted a healthy pregnancy in the past have changed significantly (especially appropriate weight, correct dietary balance, and post-natal care) but in populations where drinking and smoking have been eliminated the rates of healthy births are substantially higher, even given that women today tend to have children later in life when natural complications are more likely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kung fu lola
As for smoking, there is a theory that us Westerners are already exposed to so much crap via air pollution and other toxins that are turning up in breast milk and whatnot, that smoking is just the straw that breaks the camel's back. This explains why it wasn't as much a concern thirty years ago - did they have such a thing as smog advisories, where they would have to warn asthmatics and the elderly to stay inside?
Sorry, but this is utterly specious nonsense. First of all, air quality has improved dramatically practically everywhere in the the United States and Europe in the last three decades; we were less conscious of it because the nascent environmental movement was on the fringes rather than the morning news. Low-level smog was just taken as a granted in those days, unworthy of an advisory, and people who were susceptible to it just had to suffer. Second, the worst urban air quality in the world doesn't begin to compare to the health effects from smoking, especially the likelyhood of developing smoking-related cancer or non-herditary emphysema. Smoking very clearly and dramatically correlates which much higher incidences of many chronic illnesses. It's not "the straw that broke the camel's back"; it's the two ton load of gold bricks that caused the camel to sway and buckle. Portraying it as some almost incidental health hazard that is so marginal it doesn't bear cutting out of a healthy lifestyle is fallacious and disingenous.

Stranger
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  #22  
Old 08-04-2007, 07:38 PM
Gala Matrix Fire Gala Matrix Fire is offline
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Every so often I have an urge to start a thread titled "Post a photo of your mom smoking while pregnant." I never do, though, because I don't have a picture of my mom smoking while pregnant. But I still kind of keep hoping that somebody will.
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  #23  
Old 08-04-2007, 08:09 PM
kung fu lola kung fu lola is offline
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Firstly, this is IMHO, not GD. I know better than to go in there; I just don't have the mind for it. So please ride me a little less fiercely.

Secondly, I am not arguing that smoking and drinking during pregnancy is good or harmless. Frankly, I think that no one should smoke tobacco outside of a ritual or ceremony, ever, and that any woman who is or could be pregnant shouldn't drink one drop. But you just can't say that without people screeching like harpies. This is a sensitive topic. Sometimes people are more willing to listen to you when you couch what you have to say and sand the edges off.
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  #24  
Old 08-04-2007, 08:25 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train
Every pregnancy may be different, but as an aggregate smoking and drinking alcohol can have siginficant impacts upon fetal health. Both alcohol and nicotine readily cross the placental barrier, so a pregnant woman drinking or smoking is essentially doing the same thing as feeding an infant alcohol or putting a cigarette in it's mouth, which I think everyone will agree is inadvisable.
Even that is cultural and a factor of our time. My grandparent's generation were known to mix whiskey or wine into the baby bottle to get the baby to sleep (and some of the people I know whose parents did this seem to have suffered no ill effects - graduated from Med School - maybe without the chianti in the bottle they would have won Nobel Prizes).

There was a study out when my kids were babies that showed mothers who drank in moderation during pregnancy (less than two or three drinks a week, but drank) had children who had HIGHER development scores at eighteen months than their non-imbibing peers. Its possible that alcohol in pregnancy, like alcohol in so much else in life, can actually be beneficial in moderation. The problem is that any benefit is rather moderate, and the downside of non-moderation can be pretty severe.
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  #25  
Old 08-05-2007, 12:15 AM
Little Cloud Little Cloud is offline
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My Mom drank and smoked plenty with all 3 of us and no obvious damage but maybe my sense of direction or memory could be better..... who knows? I don't drink and quit smoking with each pregnancy but docs were recommending occasional drinks for various pregnancy related complaints at the time of my first pregnancy (1980). My OB doc at that time also had ashtrays and a big coffeeepot in the waiting room.

I worked in a detox unit where we would show an educational film daily about drug or alcohol use and consequences and then answer questions. One day we had more women than men on the unit (a rare circumstance indeed) so I decided to show the film on fetal alcohol syndrome (which had never been shown on detox before). The film showed clips of children with the full syndrome and of children with lesser consequences called fetal alcohol effect. BIG mistake! Three women (out of about 10) became hysterical because they realized for the first time that problems in their children were caused by their drinking. Denial is a big part of alcoholism, but I am often amazed at the almost psychotic nature of that denial in otherwise normal, intelligent people. It took all day and most of the staff members to get everybody calmed down.

So, while I think an occasional drink while pregnant is probably fine, I don't know who is going to interpret that to mean "only 4 or 5 drinks a day". Ergo, I advise all patients not to drink at all when pregnant.
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Old 08-05-2007, 12:44 AM
Auntbeast Auntbeast is offline
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I smoked during my pregnancy. It isn't something I am at all proud of. I did cut down dramatically however...if that will save me from the fire pits of hell. My daughter was born premature and underweight, however, I was underweight when I got pregnant and had a hell of a time eating the last two months. I was ordered to put on two pounds a week or the doctor would take her out of me. I met his goal, then he told me he had hoped I would be able to gain 1lb a week. I was determined. I was told at the beginning of the pregnancy that I should gain 35lbs, which I did, but I probably needed to gain much more.

She was born very strong, very happy, nursed well and as best I can tell, was the easiest baby ever born, she certainly showed no signs of withdrawal or anything. I also had an epidural and will spearhead any petition to make them freely available (GOOD DRUGS!). I am not a drinker and frankly, I've seen the effects of FAS on children. It is terrifying.

Quitting smoking is one of the hardest things to quit. I was the sole breadwinner, working full time, long hours and was trying to support my husband through the dot-com crash. Turned out he was a drug addict the entire pregnancy. I spent the entire time trying to be supportive, keep our home, keep my health insurance and deal with a high risk pregnancy from the start. I guess I was selfish, inconsiderate and should be jailed or burned alive. But although I was thrilled to be pregnant, it was the toughest year of my life. I hope if I am fortunate enough to get pregnant again, I won't have as much stress as I did then.

At 6 weeks I had bleeding and they weren't sure she was viable. At 12 weeks my AFP test said she had a 1-100 shot of having downs syndrome. I had to have an amniocentesis to find out for sure. At 16 weeks, I got the results that she was normal. At 20 weeks, my car blew it's radiator and cost $800 to replace. Ad naseum. When she was 4 weeks old, I found out our house was entering foreclosure and my husband had been a drug addict for the last year and we had nothing left.

Yep, I smoked. I am thrilled to death that my daughter apparently has not suffered for my sins.

Because really, she's the greatest kid in the world.
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  #27  
Old 08-05-2007, 12:46 AM
Hedda Rosa Hedda Rosa is online now
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My understanding also is that it isn't clear to researchers and doctors exactly how much alcohol is the harmful level, so the safest bet is to say none at all.

That said, I once was actually drinking a beer as I watched the second line appear. That turned out to be my son The Bumblebee.

I announced that pregnancy to my husband by handing him the empty bottle and saying "Well that is the last one for me for the next 9 months." Fun times.
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Old 08-05-2007, 04:00 AM
NinetyWt NinetyWt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Cloud
BIG mistake! Three women (out of about 10) became hysterical because they realized for the first time that problems in their children were caused by their drinking.
I realize that you meant "big mistake" because of the aftermath, but I think that showing the film was a good thing - perhaps hard for some of the ladies to take - but good in that you were shining a light on the problem.
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  #29  
Old 08-05-2007, 08:33 AM
Lissla Lissar Lissla Lissar is offline
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I don't smoke. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I quit drinking for the first trimester. Since then I've had a couple of sips of my husband's drink, but no full glasses of anything. I'll probably scale up to an occasional glass of wine as I get further along.

My SIL smokes, and her doctor recommended that she cut down but not stop, because the shock of nicotine deprivation would be bad for the kid. THe kid's a year and a bit, and is fine.

I have continued to eat ham, but I feel guilty and neurotic about it.
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  #30  
Old 08-05-2007, 09:31 AM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
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SIDS

http://www.lungusa.org/site/pp.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E&b=35775

Excerpt from link:
While the cause of SIDS is unknown, many potential risk factors have been identified such as premature birth and/or low birth weight, bed sharing, loose bedding and male sex. The most important risk factors to be aware of are

maternal smoking both before and after the child's birth


Smoking in general is recognized for lower birth weight, higher risk of pregnancy complications, and decline in fertility.
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5339a1.htm
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  #31  
Old 08-05-2007, 10:41 AM
A.R. Cane A.R. Cane is offline
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I'm not going to defend drinking and smoking by pregnant women, but I think we'd be better served by concentrating our energies on the distribution of wealth and adequate health care for all our citizens. If we, as a nation, were as outspoken about poverty and lack of availibility to health care I'm sure it would do much more for infant health/mortality than harping on one narrow issue.
Wouldn't it be much more productive to find solutions to root causes, than to find a way of blaming one segment of the population?

Last edited by A.R. Cane; 08-05-2007 at 10:44 AM..
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  #32  
Old 08-05-2007, 04:02 PM
Viridiana Viridiana is offline
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A second on prioritizing viable, affordable health care for all pregnant women over anti smoking/drinking campaigns, but personally, I wouldn't do either as long as there was any real chance of something screwing up my kids. Drugs and drinking just aren't important enough to me and thankfully I've got no addictions.
I'd do my best to avoid L&D drugs too, though never having been pregnant I have no way of knowing how painful it is.
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Old 08-05-2007, 09:53 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.R. Cane
Wouldn't it be much more productive to find solutions to root causes, than to find a way of blaming one segment of the population?
But then we wouldn't be able to punish the bad women, and point our fingers at them, and absolve our society of any responsibility. This great nation was built on identifying, ostracizing, and punishing those bad people.

You're right of course.

Anyway, it's already been said pretty well in this thread, that the best dose of nicotine and alcohol for a pregnant woman is probably none. It is quite clear that, despite testimonials and anecdotes in this thread to the contrary (that is so not fighting ignorance), both alcohol and nicotine use raise rates of bad outcomes, in an apparent dose-related rise in risk.

Is there a safe dose for each substance? Maybe. Probably. But we don't know if there for sure is, and we don't know what that theoretical safe dose might be.

Last edited by Qadgop the Mercotan; 08-05-2007 at 09:53 PM..
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Old 08-05-2007, 11:41 PM
A.R. Cane A.R. Cane is offline
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Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan
But then we wouldn't be able to punish the bad women, and point our fingers at them, and absolve our society of any responsibility. This great nation was built on identifying, ostracizing, and punishing those bad people.

You're right of course.

Anyway, it's already been said pretty well in this thread, that the best dose of nicotine and alcohol for a pregnant woman is probably none. It is quite clear that, despite testimonials and anecdotes in this thread to the contrary (that is so not fighting ignorance), both alcohol and nicotine use raise rates of bad outcomes, in an apparent dose-related rise in risk.

Is there a safe dose for each substance? Maybe. Probably. But we don't know if there for sure is, and we don't know what that theoretical safe dose might be.
Ain't it the truth Doc, ain't it the truth!?
The emotional response is to lay blame, to find a scapegoat. It seems so satisfying. The logical response is to find a solution. If only we could instill some logic into the emotional thought process, maybe we could make some progress.
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Old 08-06-2007, 01:04 AM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is offline
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Originally Posted by A.R. Cane
Ain't it the truth Doc, ain't it the truth!?
The emotional response is to lay blame, to find a scapegoat. It seems so satisfying. The logical response is to find a solution. If only we could instill some logic into the emotional thought process, maybe we could make some progress.
My turn for . Bringing awareness to the health impacts of using alcohol and tobacco while pregnant is readily achievable, requires little in the way of social engineering or economic reform, and has had demonstratably beneficial outcomes for essentially no cost. In short, it's low hanging fruit which produces a bountiful harvest.

Long term solutions involving an equitable division of wealth have escaped most developed nations (even Sweden and Denmark have had to concede that some social welfare services are too expensive to provide on the public krona) and while public health care in the United States is badly in need of reform, nobody seems to be able to agree what kind of changes to make, who should be the governing authority, and what ultimate form the system should take. This is fruit at the very top of the tree, and you're probably going to break a lot of branches in order to get there. This isn't something that is going to happen quickly or painlessly, and certainly doesn't have the efficacy to deliver the same improvements in infant mortality and prenatal development that campaigns to educate the public on the hazards of drinking and smoking while pregnant have.

The US' statistics on infant mortality are shockingly lower than most other developed nations, but given a finite amount of resources and political wherewithal you have to pick and choose the most effective avenue of improvement. Lowering the incidence of habitual use of alcohol and tobacco is a lot more concrete and viable in the here and now than a spurious, ill-conceived effort at reforming the medical system or some pie-in-the-sky plan for humanistic socialism which will be great once we can figure out how to make bureaucracy work and corruption minimal. I like the latter idea in concept, but don't have much faith in the execution in the US at large; there's too much inherent disconnect in incomes, too much regional variation in labor needs and value, and too many people with a vested interest in gearing a system toward their own favor.

Stranger
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Old 08-06-2007, 02:36 AM
A.R. Cane A.R. Cane is offline
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Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train
My turn for . Bringing awareness to the health impacts of using alcohol and tobacco while pregnant is readily achievable, requires little in the way of social engineering or economic reform, and has had demonstratably beneficial outcomes for essentially no cost. In short, it's low hanging fruit which produces a bountiful harvest.

Long term solutions involving an equitable division of wealth have escaped most developed nations (even Sweden and Denmark have had to concede that some social welfare services are too expensive to provide on the public krona) and while public health care in the United States is badly in need of reform, nobody seems to be able to agree what kind of changes to make, who should be the governing authority, and what ultimate form the system should take. This is fruit at the very top of the tree, and you're probably going to break a lot of branches in order to get there. This isn't something that is going to happen quickly or painlessly, and certainly doesn't have the efficacy to deliver the same improvements in infant mortality and prenatal development that campaigns to educate the public on the hazards of drinking and smoking while pregnant have.


The U.S. statistics on infant mortality are shockingly lower than most other developed nations, but given a finite amount of resources and political wherewithal you have to pick and choose the most effective avenue of improvement. Lowering the incidence of habitual use of alcohol and tobacco is a lot more concrete and viable in the here and now than a spurious, ill-conceived effort at reforming the medical system or some pie-in-the-sky plan for humanistic socialism which will be great once we can figure out how to make bureaucracy work and corruption minimal. I like the latter idea in concept, but don't have much faith in the execution in the US at large; there's too much inherent disconnect in incomes, too much regional variation in labor needs and value, and too many people with a vested interest in gearing a system toward their own favor.

Stranger
You refute your own arguments. The answer is political will and the impetus is public opinion. That public opinion may be influenced by financial interest for awhile, but itr's not without limits. The idea that we should blame the individual for not having the personal integrity, or incentive to obtain sufficient social/financial status to be in a position of providing adequate medical care for themselves and their dependants, is specious and the public will eventually recognize the fallacy of that argument.
If the opportunity were readily available then most would avail themselves of it. The old adage that "the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer", is alive and well in the U.S. today, and it's a detriment to our continuing as a world superpower. As economic and political power continue to be held by fewer and fewer then the likelyhood of rebellion, in one form or another, will rise until revolution becomes a necessity and a reality.
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Old 08-06-2007, 02:54 AM
Hilarity N. Suze Hilarity N. Suze is offline
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It's dangerously close to offtopic, but I feel I should have added the medical establishment's take on weight gain during pregnancy.

'60s: "Don't gain more than 20 pounds! No matter what!" I gained 7 or so pounds in the first couple of months and was admonished severely and threatened with a 1500-calorie diet if I continued to gain at that rate. I started the pregnancy weighing 103 and finished it weighing 119. (No wonder they didn't tell women to quit smoking.)

'70s: 20-25 pounds considered okay, and not continually monitered. Literature from doctor's office said in essence "This is not the time to go on a diet, but focus on fresh healthy foods."

'80s: "You will gain around 30 pounds in a normal pregnancy, but don't worry, after breastfeeding for two or three years you'll be back to normal. 40 pounds? Well you started kind of slim, but let's watch it."

'90s: They looked for a nice steady weight gain. "Don't even worry about it, we'll tell you if we think something's wrong."
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