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Drinking during pregnancy- European style

For those of you who have been pg. in Europe, what was your doctor's take on drinking?  I have had it with all the comments on the Bump that in Europe, people are really relaxed about drinking during pregnancy.  In Germany, this is simply not the case.  My doctor told me strictly no alcohol, she was much more relaxed about eating soft cheeses and deli meat, but alcohol is off limits.  My pharmacy freaked out because my GP perscribed a homeopathic throat spray that had alcohol in it. 

Maybe I've had too much of people on both sides of the Atlantic making ridiculous comments, but whatever, I have had enough of this drinking in Europe while pregnant thing. 

Thank you for letting me vent :)

BFP#1: 9/18/2010, Ectopic & Surgery 10/7/2010

BFP #2: 4/30/2011 EDD 1/3/2012


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Re: Drinking during pregnancy- European style

  • I'm in England and my midwife has also said no alcohol.  I do think deli meat was never mentioned, but I haven't been eating it. 
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  • I have no clue about anywhere else, but when we were in the Czech Republic my friends OBGYN told her that a beer a week in her third tri would be OK.
  • my MIL is a dr and she has specifically mentioned 'no drinking' for pregnant women
  • I'm in Scotland, and my midwife said no alcohol, no unpasteurized cheese and no liver. Nothing was said about deli meat, but just to watch my sodium intake.
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  • Yep, no drinking in England.  but I have to admit I haved shared some mulled wine over Christmas with my first pregnacy and will do it again.  Shared means taking a few sips from DH's glass.

    My swiss friend will have one of those small before dinner glasses of white wine from time to time.

    I have had a ton of deli meat this time around, because I just forgot.  Those sandwiches really hit the spot.

  • Haven't been pregnant, but have had enough pregnant friends in the US and in Europe.

    Doctors say no alcohol in NL as well, though if you ask on, they will tell you that it hasn't been proven how much alcohol is needed to harm a baby, so they prefer to say none at all, but once in a while (like every other week or so) a small glass wouldn't necessarily have to be dangerous. They won't say it's safe though, as they can't legally do so, because they can't prove that it's safe (because honestly, what woman would be willing to be in that trial). 

    Regarding cheeses and deli meats I know they say no unpasteurized cheeses. Soft is fine, as long as it's pasteurized soft cheese. I've never heard anything negative about deli meats, except for roast beef, as that's at least half raw and they frown upon that.

    Don't listen to the bumpies, those who haven't been pg in Europe don't know what it's like, period.  

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  • I'm interested to read the answers on this one. There's a lot of misinformation floating around on TB (surprise, surprise!) With both my kids I had 2 glasses of wine while pregnant. I didn't finish them though, it does something funky to my tastebuds when PG. My mother drank with all 4 of us kids in England. Not a lot, but I don't think it was all that frowned upon in the late seventies, early eighties.
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  • I'm in Ireland and I was told a small glass of wine up to three times a week was fine.  (I didn't drink during my pregnancy at all.)  After DD was born, I was told to drink Guinness to encourage my breast milk to come in.  I did drink that Guinness, and it was awesome.
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  • Is there a thread that inspired this? I'm sure some European INs would be happy to go over and set them straight :)
  • I spent most of my pregnancy in MI and the remainder in TX, both of my doctors were fine with me having the occasional glass of wine in the later stages of my pregnancy.
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  • Eh, I had ds in London and was told a couple of glasses a wine a couple of times a week were ok by both my GP and midwife. That seemed excessive to me but I had no interest in drinking during my pregnancies either. My midwives here in the US were okay with an occasional glass of wine as well.
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  • It was a drinking during pregnancy post.  One lady, who is pg. said that she only drinks about her DH's coworkers from Europe because Europeans are so much more relaxed about drinking during pregnancy than Americans.  It bugs me because there is a prevailing sentiment on TB that Europeans drink like fish while they're pregnant, which simply isn't true. 

    BFP#1: 9/18/2010, Ectopic & Surgery 10/7/2010

    BFP #2: 4/30/2011 EDD 1/3/2012


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  • My first baby was in Italy. My doctor was American but took a relaxed approach that matched the local feel. We'd be out to dinner and when finding out I was pregnant the waiter would congratulate us and offer me a glass of wine or shot of limencello. And I'll admit that half a glass of beer soothed my pregnant tummy better than any antacid I took.
  • I'm not a Bump frequentor-- but my guess is they way over-generalize.  The idea that Europeans "drink like fish" while pg (or not for that matter) is silly, IME. 

    Obviously, kids are kids (20 and unders) as far as clubs, etc.  But generally, talking over 23yrs old, I find Italians drink more frequently than Americans (ie w/ every dinner) but they drink to excess less (and rarely just drink to drink ie w/o food).

    I've seen visibly pg IT women drinking in public, but we're talking like a glass of house wine (lighter and less alcohol than most bottled wine).  None have ever appeared tipsy/drunk.

  • Well, I've been seeing two OBs during my pregnancy.  My public system OB told me I could have a glass of wine a day during my pregnancy and it wouldn't hurt a thing.  My private insurance OB told me some wine/beer during 2nd and 3rd tri wouldn't hurt anything.

    Obviously, I haven't been drinking a glass of wine a day (or a week) but it does seem to me that drinking during pregnancy is not that taboo in Spain -- although I think my public OB was a nutter and I've stopped seeing her due to that and other strange comments.

    I also agree with VABeach's assessment that people here (in Spain at least) drink more often, but to excess less frequently.  People here are very likely to have a glass of wine every day with dinner but not very likely to get wasted.   

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  • I don't remember being told what could and couldn't have or do, except for one midwife that told me to stop reading all the literature that I could get my hands on because I was just scaring myself. So, my answer is that I never drank, but my first trimester was in the US, and my second and third trimester was in the UK and I don't remember ever been told its ok to drink.

    Here is a link to a Pregnancy magazine in the UK and an article on alcohol and pregnancy -

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  • My German doctor did not recommend drinking.  I actually didn't see that many pregnant women drinking, but a fair number smoking.
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  • UK- no more than 2 units in a day, not to exceed 8 in a week. Also, I should drink a beer a day while breastfeeding, pref. guniess. It was 12-13 years ago snd frankly freaked me out. They were sent ina tizzy because i had ONE peanut butter sandwich but apparently alcohol was ok. NL- none, but if I wanted to toast a friend at a wedding it would be fine. In the UK I have seen visibly pregnant women drink, and we are talking cocktails and/or more than one unit. In the NL I haven't seen any. It is "spot the preggers lady" by the one drinking OJ in a wine glass.
  • peanut allergies. My midwife said my peanut allergy fetus could die from me eating even one peanut. Get the idea my midwife was a loon? Yeah- all of them were. Seriously, I had the crazy-are-us bunch.
  • I have heard that about peanut allergies I guess but I don't see how one could ever know before birth if a baby had any allergy. There are all sorts of things my baby could be allergic to, and I doubt I could avoid them all!
  • The more pregnancy eating and drinking rules I hear about, the less fun it seems.  Not that it ever seemed very fun in the first place.  It's a wonder we continue on as a race.
  • imagePublius:
    The more pregnancy eating and drinking rules I hear about, the less fun it seems.  Not that it ever seemed very fun in the first place.  It's a wonder we continue on as a race.
    I do miss drinking alcohol. But I'd gladly give that up for the next few years if I could stop barfing every day. Honestly I miss taking OTC meds like ibuprofen and drinking as much caffeine as I want more than anything. It's worth it, but when you have a massive headache sometimes you want nothing more than a couple Advil and a cup of coffee!
  • I completely agree with Publius on this one.
    Seriously - no coffee and no wine/beer?
    Throwing up?
    Headaches (Allergies!?!?!?!!!!) without meds?

    Someone tell me it's worth it, please!

  • imageelenetxu:

    I completely agree with Publius on this one.
    Seriously - no coffee and no wine/beer?
    Throwing up?
    Headaches (Allergies!?!?!?!!!!) without meds?

    Someone tell me it's worth it, please!

    Ask me again in November ;) but so far, absolutely worth it!
  • It's really not so bad.  You can have a glass of wine every once in a while, you can have caffeine every day (one normal cup of coffee -- this is about two or three cans of coke and I never drank more caffeine than that), and you don't even have to swear off deli meat and sushi if you get it at reputable places.

    So far it's completely worth it and every time (well, maybe not in the middle of the night and get woken up by it) I feel LO kick I remember that. :)   

    And for headaches you can take 1mg of paracetemol without a problem.

    There are exercises for backaches and ways to strengthen your back so your back doesn't hurt so badly.

    Sure, there are some uncomfortable times during pregnancy (and I'm sure the most uncomfy times are still to come for me!) but it's not THAT bad for most women.  The 2nd trimester has actually been really good for me, but maybe I'll be whistling a different tune after 3rd tri.

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