There’s been a long, ongoing debate about whether or not it’s dangerous for pregnant women to drink alcohol. Like most debates about diet, one day there’s an article saying something’s good for you and the next day, another researcher contradicts it. But one woman, Natalie Battaglia, is set on changing that narrative after her own experiences. She drank wine while she was pregnant and now her son has developmental issues.
Natalie Battaglia Deeply Regrets Drinking Wine While Pregnant
Natalie Battaglia, who hails from Melbourne Australia, says that she was very careful with her first pregnancy. Because she and her hubby had tried for over a year to get pregnant, she “cherished it like nothing else.” But with her second pregnancy, she became more relaxed. And so she went from occasionally drinking a half glass of champagne a day to having one or more glasses of wine.
Battaglia, who has a website called The Mindful Mocktail, was speaking on the Knock-off Drinks With a Difference podcast about her experience. She said that “when people said to me, ‘Why don’t you just have one?’ or ‘One won’t hurt,’ I listened a little bit more keenly” during her second pregnancy. So, she’d drink her wine — enough to feel a buzz, she said.
While her child was brought to full term in 2017, however, she soon started observing behavioral patterns that were concerning. Her son would scissor his legs and wave his arms up and wasn’t learning how to walk. So, Battaglia started seeing pediatricians. But when they asked her if she’d drunk any alcohol during her pregnancy, she lied and said no.
Two separate pediatricians said they suspected Cerebral Palsy, which occurs when the brain fails to develop properly due to damage. That damage can occur during pregnancy or shortly after, or during birth. It results in problems with coordination and muscle tone, among other issues, and can last for a lifetime. Though there needs to be more research, some scientists think there is a link between Cerebral Palsy and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders (FASD).
Battaglia’s Son’s Developmental Issues Led Her to Drink More Before Becoming Sober
Battaglia went into a depression when she realized that her son had developmental issues and that her drinking may have been the culprit. She began drinking more heavily while working with professionals to teach him how to walk. Eventually, his general state started to improve.
But Battaglia was shook. She eventually stopped drinking entirely. Now, she’s on a mission to spread the word that no amount of alcohol is safe while drinking.
Insider reports that a new study suggests that there is no amount of safe alcohol in pregnancy and that less than one glass can damage the fetal brain. The information online is extremely contradictory, with some mothers claiming that they were advised to have a drink every now and then while pregnant. Some studies have claimed it’s safe to moderately drink. One systematic review concluded that there just isn’t enough evidence gathered yet and more studies need to be done. But major health organizations like The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, The Mayo Clinic, and the CDC warn that there is no safe amount of alcohol when pregnant.
Risks of drinking while pregnant include causing your child to have a low birth rate, learning disabilities, small head size, abnormal facial features, organ defects, vision and hearing problems, a low IQ, and more. In some cases, it can also kill your child, before or after birth.
The Research Is Mixed But You Probably Shouldn’t Risk It
Battaglia is now an ambassador of the Proof Alliance, a nonprofit that works to spread awareness of FASD and prevent drinking during pregnancy. And she’s using her social media to spread awareness as well.
“Confession time: I drank alcohol during both of my pregnancies,” Battaglia wrote on Instagram. “Was it a lot? No. Was it enough to have a detrimental effect on my babies? Possibly… I know first hand the damage that drinking alcohol (even in small amounts) has the potential to do. And from personal experience I can hand on heart say – it is truly not worth it. 9 months is such a short time in the scheme of things. So please – don’t tell a pregnant woman that ‘it’s safe to have one’.”@TheMindfulMocktail
Battaglia also has some amazing recipes for non-alcoholic drinks and is a big advocate for sobriety in general. If you’re thinking about cutting back or cutting out your alcohol consumption, you should check her out @TheMindfulMocktail.