Wine & The Devil’s Child

Back in October the "Women Win Critics Board" launched offering to deliver information and critiques of wine from a woman’s perspective. I for one was very intrigued by the offer. While I sometimes wonder about the significance of the difference, there is no doubt that men and women see the world differently.

Mary Baker, of Dover Canyon Winery—a wine blogger herself—is, I believe, the mover and shaker behind the WWCB. Well, entries at the site have been sparse since October. However, when they do deliver posts, they don’t fool around.

Posted yesterday at WWCB is an important article entitled "Wine & Pregnancy: Lies that Women are Told". In this fascinating post the current research on wine drinking and pregnancy is outlined. And as the title’s post reveals, it appears that the informational and advisory status quo on how wine drinking affects a pregnancy might hit below the bar.

Read the article and learn what science and studies have actually determined about moderate drinking and pregnancy.

I for one can not count the number of women who I’ve heard say, "no, I’m not drinking during pregnancy." I don’t know how many of them have been told by their doctor that they should not and how many have simply adopted the popular wisdom that suggests any ingestion of alcohol during pregnancy will likely result in not merely health problems for the child, but in all likelihood something that resembles the spawn of the devil himself.  The common wisdom pregnancy is all about fear and the WWCB’s article on the subject confirms this.

In the early 1990s the subject of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome was showing up everywhere. The debate was over how much wine a woman could safely drink during pregnancy, if they should drink any at all. Inside the wine industry writers Jerry Mead and Gene Ford both reminded readers that no study showed any reliable information that moderate consumption was harmful. In the end, fear won the day.

Is there any motivation stronger than that act that might harm your child, alive or yet born? I think not; certainly not for a mother. It is very difficult for lay people to go out and dig up the truth when the truth is found in scientific journals buried in scientific studies. It is far easier to go with the flow. This is why pregnant women rarely drink today. Yet, imagine the woman who has done the digging and finds that the facts show moderate drinking during pregnancy does not hurt the fetus. How is she to explain to her friends who look at her with cruel aghast as she sips on a Cabernet that that her actions are not irresponsible. The pressure must be unbearable. "She’s risking her child’s health for he sake of a glass of wine???"

The article at Women Wine Critics Board is strong. Read it.

Posted In: Culture and Wine


10 Responses

  1. Derrick Schneider - January 6, 2006

    A similar debate centers around eating soft cheeses during pregnancy. Again, a marginal risk associated with raw-milk cheese becomes a paranoia about practically all cheese.
    But as you say, who wants to risk falling into the statistical endpoints?

  2. Lenn - January 6, 2006

    I’m heading over to read the post right now…because I had a discussion about this with one of my best friends, whose wife is currently pregnant (and is/was a BIG wine drinker…amount not quality). His wife doesn’t drink at ALL, won’t eat any cheese or seafood.
    And, as someone with a family in the future (hopefully) I’m curious as to whether I’ll lose my tasting partner for nine months when the time comes.
    But you’re both right…it’s not worth taking the chance of being one of the women on the endpoints.

  3. Terry Hughes - January 6, 2006

    Your post is pretty funny, Tom, because when my wife was pregnant back in the 70s, the Pregnancy Police had hardly begun to patrol. Moderation was the byword. “Take a glass of wine in the evening, it will relax you and the baby.” Note that the docs said A GLASS, not a BOTTLE. Cheese and eight hundred other foodstuffs had not made the list of forbidden pleasures. (Note that juxtaposition.)
    There seems to be something so ludicrously overblown and hysterical in the American psyche when it comes to the way pregnant women are treated and regarded. Either they are the blessed vessels of sainted motherhood or they are wanton morons who need to be closely monotired by men.
    My advice to a pregnant lady would be, “Have a glass of wine in the evening with your dinner. It will relax you and the baby…”
    And have a slice of cheese too while you’re at it.

  4. Terry Hughes - January 6, 2006

    MONITORED by men, I mean. Sorry.

  5. Fredric Koeppel - January 7, 2006

    …. though “monotired” might be a good new word to describe how women might be worn out at the end of the day by constant exposure to men trying to moniter them.

  6. Mary Baker - January 7, 2006

    Thanks, gentlemen! I’d appreciate any support you can give me over at the WWCBlog. We’ve already gotten a couple of posts claiming that we’re “encouraging alcoholics to continue drinking,” and that one social drink will permaanently brain damage a baby. ::rolling eyes::
    Tom, hopefully you’ll be seeing 3-4 posts a month as of the first of the year. After harvest was over, I set to work lining up writers and scheduling them on the blog. Natalie MacLean, among others, will be posting there soon. If anyone would like to contribute a piece, please let me know.

  7. Tessa O'Dowd - January 10, 2006

    I thought this article was the best wine and pregnancy article I have ever seen. As a young women, recently married, one of my fears of pregnancy was not being able to have that glass of wine with dinner. Or just having to stop drinking completely! I never have agreed that drinking heavily during pregnancy was good, and never will resort to that. I think this is a great article for child-bearing women in their 20’s and 30’s to read and to start a new awareness. An awareness that pregnant women shouldn’t feel ashamed of themselves while enjoying a glass of wine. And also feeling comfortable enough to be able to order a glass of wine at a restaurant, without the scorn looks. What did all the pregnant women in the 60’s and 70’s do when they were pregnant. I highly doubt all of them were sober. We are the offspring of that generation! That alone gives this article more credibility. My conclusion: “Wine Within Reason” will not harm a fetus.

  8. bira - February 21, 2006

    Women why do they stop after they bear 1 child especial before they are not stopping mansteration period?

  9. Kim - June 9, 2006

    I thought the article was great. I am a 36 year old pregnant woman and I have a glass of wine each night with dinner. I even order a glass of wine when we go out to dinner and I don’t care if I get an evil look. I am sure I will have a perfectly happy and healthy baby.

  10. rachel - June 12, 2006

    This is the most informative article I’ve read, I’m a 29 pregnant woman I have 1 or 2 glasses of red wine a week, my doctor said it was o.k. but it never fails if I’m at a gathering I always get that look. Men are always more critical than women, and frankly I don’t know why, it is us who gain 30+ lbs, swell up, can’t sleep, boobs hurt, back aches and still tend to everyday housework and our other kids, we deserve that glass of wine, don’t you think?

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