Cheers to Partnership: How I Gave Up Drinking While My Wife Was Pregnant
This dad gave up drinking in solidarity with his pregnant wife...and he hasn't had a drink since.
For the past 15 years, I’ve focused on maintaining a healthy lifestyle that consists of eating nutritious food coupled with regular exercise. I rarely, if ever, consumed alcohol during that time. I always viewed it as empty calories and I worked too hard to stay in shape, never mind the potential health effects or the dangers of getting behind the wheel impaired.
When my wife became pregnant with both of our boys, not taking a drink was a simple, small way I could act in solidarity with her. It was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made and even easier to follow through. In fact, I haven’t had a drink since, I don’t plan to, and I really don’t miss it.
For some, it may be a bit of a trickier transition, given the social nature of alcohol. If you're thinking about joining your partner in abstention, here are some things to consider.
How Alcohol Affects the Fetus
I have to put it out there. Drinking any amount of alcohol during pregnancy is dangerous for the baby, according to the March of Dimes (MOD). Once consumed, the alcohol passes through the placenta and the umbilical cord to the baby via the blood stream. This can harm the baby’s brain and other organs.
Other possible health issues include premature birth, brain damage, growth and development issues, heart defects, hearing or vision problems and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs).
That's why it's so important for your partner to completely abstain. Abstaining with her can make it easier and send the message that you're both in this together.
Ways to Stop
If you enjoy the occasional adult beverage and plan to stop drinking only for the duration of the pregnancy, the MOD offers some helpful tips:
- Start by substituting alcohol with water or fruity drinks. You can also try making mocktails for you and your partner.
- Avoid places and settings that will tempt you to drink, like nightclubs and bars.
- Remove all alcohol from your home; you can’t drink what you don’t have.
- Finally, let your family and friends know about your plan. They’ll be sure to support the both of you.
Find Other Outlets
One way to avoid social situations that might tempt either of you to drink is to find other outlets and interests for your spare time. Developing an exercise routine together is one healthy avenue to pursue.
Depending on how difficult the pregnancy is, your partner might not be up for exercising some days. Suggest something easier on the body, like taking a yoga class together.
Try parent-to-be meetups. You'll hang out with couples in the same boat as you and create friendships that could turn into play dates down the road.
The two of you could also go shopping. If your partner is apprehensive about wearing maternity clothes, your reassurance that she looks fantastic in them will be welcomed.
You accepted your wife for better or for worse. Now be honest; quitting drinking for the nine months of her pregnancy isn’t really for worse. That comes in the form of 2:30 AM feedings and poop diaper explosions.
Looking for more ways to support your partner during her pregnancy? Here are six ways to make her feel good about herself as her body changes.