Perhaps you are thinking about having a baby and are getting excited about starting a family. However, you are used to having a couple of glasses of wine every evening. The question is, can you still carry on drinking wine or should you give up altogether? In this article, we will answer this question.
What is Wine?
Wine is an alcoholic drink made from crushed, macerated, and fermented grapes. Technically, wine can be made from any fruit, such as plums, cranberries, apples, or pears but if the label on the bottle just says wine, it will be made from grapes. The alcohol is produced during the fermentation process when the yeast eats the natural sugar in the grapes and turns it into alcohol.
There are many varieties of wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. Some wines are red, others, white, and others rose. As well as still wine you can get sparkling wine, and in addition, dessert wine, and fortified wines such as Port, Sherry, and Marsala. Wine can be dry or sweet or something in between. You can buy bottles of wine for a few dollars, or, if it’s a special occasion, you can buy a bottle for a hundred dollars.
Should Pregnant Women Drink Wine?
The simple answer is no because it can cause all sorts of health problems for the baby. Studies have proved that even just a couple of glasses of wine a week can cause serious health problems for the baby, stillbirth, or premature delivery.
The problems can be caused by any kind of alcoholic beverage as well as wine, such as beer and spirits. The majority of healthcare workers the world over encourage pregnant women not to drink alcohol for the sake of their baby. The Department of Health in the UK and in many other countries have laid down a set of guidelines that have said that it is unsafe for pregnant women to drink alcohol.
Is There Any Type of Wine a Pregnant Woman Can Drink?
As we have said, pregnant women shouldn’t drink any type of alcohol, including wine. This may be difficult for some women if they are used to drinking on a regular basis. If this is the case, they can drink non-alcoholic wine so that they get a taste of wine but not the alcohol. There are plenty of non-alcoholic wines out there to choose from. They are completely safe for pregnant women to drink, and no pre-birth defects will affect the baby.
True non-alcoholic wines have been produced from wine that has been fermented with yeast and has undergone a vinification process. The alcohol is removed through processes such as reverse osmosis or vacuum distillation. Once the alcohol is removed, the beverage reminds you of alcohol but it doesn’t taste quite like it. Non-alcoholic wine is not grape juice as grape juice doesn’t go through the fermentation process.
Recommended Non-Alcoholic Wines For Pregnant Women
- Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Riesling. Leitz has produced non-alcoholic wines for around 15 years. This wine has a zingy palate with flavors of citrus, green apples, lime, and minerals. It is light to medium-bodied and is sparkling so is perfect for a celebration.
- Fre Merlot. This medium-bodied wine has flavors of black cherry, black plum, and sweet spice. It has a rich and velvety palate.
- Giesen Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. This is a light-bodied wine with a zesty and dry finish. It has flavors of lime, citrus rind, and passion fruit.
- St Regis Shiraz Rose. This medium-bodied wine has notes of redcurrants, raspberries, and citrus with a zesty palate.
- Freixenet Sparkling Alcohol-Removed Wine. This wine is light-bodied, and its bubbly palate is loaded with flavors of ripe citrus, lemon zest, and tropical fruits.
Other brands of non-alcoholic wine include Giesen Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Pierre Chavi Prestige Merlot Rouge, Gruvi Bubbly Sparkling Rose, and Thomson & Scott Naughty Organic Sparkling Chardonnay.
What Dangers Result from a Pregnant Woman Drinking Wine
We have already said that health professionals recommend that pregnant women don’t drink wine or, in fact, any alcoholic beverage, even during the early stages of pregnancy. This is because there are potential side effects for the unborn baby. Even one drink a week can affect the fetus. These are some of the main dangers which could affect the baby.
1 – Premature birth and low birth weight.
A full-term pregnancy is one that is 38 – 40 weeks. If a pregnant woman drinks during pregnancy, the baby could be born earlier than this. Premature birth or preterm birth occurs before 37 weeks of pregnancy. The earlier the child is born, the more risks he or she will confront, and this could even mean death. Babies who survive can have breathing issues, digestive problems, and bleeding in their brains. Long-term problems include developmental delay and lower performance at school.
Babies with low birth weight can suffer from chronic illnesses and developmental problems. Babies born with extremely low birth weights can suffer from serious illnesses such as jaundice, breathing difficulties, and heart problems. They might also suffer from internal bleeding, low body temperature, low blood sugar, intestinal problems, and vision problems. They are also at risk of Type 2 Diabetes and obesity later in life.
2 – Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a condition in a baby that occurs when the fetus is exposed to alcohol through the mother drinking. It is a serious condition and causes brain damage and growth problems. The side effects vary from child to child but whatever they are, they are not reversible. Other symptoms include vision problems, hyperactivity, deformed limbs and fingers, and heart problems. It can even lead to alcoholism in the child when he or she grows up.
3 – You can have a miscarriage
Even the smallest amount of alcohol can cause a pregnant woman to have a miscarriage.
4 – The child could suffer from depression
Just drinking a bottle of wine a week can double the chances of your child suffering from depression.
5 – The child may become unruly
If a pregnant woman consumes alcohol during pregnancy, there is a higher chance of the child becoming aggressive. Experts claim that the risk of exhibiting antisocial behavior rises threefold if the pregnant woman drinks one alcoholic drink a day.
6 – Epilepsy
Children who are exposed to alcohol in the womb are at risk of epilepsy.
7 – Sleep-related issues
Many children whose mothers continue to consume alcohol during pregnancy are at risk of disturbed sleep to the extent that it affects their waking hours. They can have problems with cognition and their overall behavior will be unsocial.
What Are the Different Kinds of Wine?
There are basically five different types of wine and these are as follows. All should be avoided by pregnant women.
Red wine is made out of crushed and fermented dark grapes. They are fermented with their skins which gives the wine its color and adds tannins to the wine. Popular red wines include Cabernet Sauvignon. Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Chianti. Many recipes call for the addition of red wine and we suggest that you only use a wine you would drink for cooking. A bad wine won’t improve once it is put in the dish.
White wine is made from crushed and fermented grapes as is red wine. However, only the pulp is used so any color of grape can be used to make white wine. The beverage is never completely white but different shades of yellow from light to dark. White wines include Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.
Sparkling wines include Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava. There are four sweetness levels when it comes to sparkling wine. The driest is extra-brut, followed by brut, then extra-day, and finally, demi-sec is a sweet sparkling wine. The color of sparkling wine is usually white but you can also get rose and even red.
Dessert wine is a sweet wine that is often drunk with desserts, cakes, and soft cheeses. To produce sweet wine, the fermentation process is stopped part of the way through before the yeast has had a chance to turn all the sugar into alcohol. Moscato D’Asti is a very popular dessert wine as is Samos from Greece.
Dessert wines are usually white or rose in color and, because of their higher alcohol content and sweetness, are usually served in smaller glasses than a normal wine glass.
Fortified wine includes Port, Vermouth, Marsala, and Sherry. This type of wine is fermented with a clear spirit that intensifies the natural flavor of the wine. It has a high alcohol content, usually between 17% and 20%. It can be any color from red to rose to white.
We think that this article has proved that pregnant women shouldn’t drink any alcohol as it can damage the fetus. If you drink, the alcohol enters the bloodstream of the baby, and all sorts of complications can occur. The baby may suffer many serious complications and at worst, you may have a miscarriage. If you have the baby, the child may not grow properly, may have brain damage, could suffer from epilepsy, or even be deformed. It isn’t worth taking the risk although if you are used to drinking and can’t give it up, you should seriously consider not having a baby. It’s not fair to endanger the health of your baby just so that you can enjoy a drink. If you are determined to have a baby, try non-alcoholic wine. You will get the taste but not the alcohol buzz but surely you can cope for nine months so that you have a beautiful and healthy baby. One thing, however, is if you intend to breastfeed your baby, don’t drink then either as the alcohol will be transmitted to the child. If you are still determined to drink, be aware of the dangers.