Recently I went on a hen party of a different kind. Out of maybe 15 girls there, most were either pregnant, had just had a baby or were actively trying to start a family. As such the booze wasn’t flowing in usual hen party fashion, with the exception of the hen herself who like a goose on a foie-gras farm was force-fed everything that others were abstaining from.
Last week when it was announced in one of the daily London freebies that ‘Pregnant women can binge drink safely’ it made me think of all the hens from that weekend and the hovering hands over glasses. Could they’ve let their hair down after all? The very next day in an online piece published in Australia we were told categorically that the answer was no and that “drinking any alcohol can harm your unborn baby”. With such opposite messages hitting the headlines what are pregnant women supposed to do? Do a google search on the subject and you’re lead into an abyss of contradictions to make your head spin. From the scaremongering to the abstract…. my favourite piece advised that drinking wine whilst pregnant was bad but drinking champagne was fine…. The mind boggles!
I’ve pondered to myself what I would do if I fell pregnant, my fear of needles and hospitals in general are pushed to one side when the thought of no wine for months on end is placed in the frame. Tasting it on a professional basis is one thing but it’s the social aspect I’d miss. Deciding which wine to try, which wine to open, and the familiar and comforting action of holding a glass in my hand while chatting away. It’s how I imagine smokers must feel when they give up, they can get their nicotine fix from a Nicorette patch but their hands are left floppy and aimless with nothing to hold. And it was this very point that has really hit home since a dear friend who is nearly 5 months pregnant came for dinner. I had found a bottle of de-alcoholised white wine from Spain with an abv of 0.5% and served it to her in a wine glass. It looked like wine, it was in a wine shaped bottle, it was made from a wine grape – Muscat – and it tasted, albeit sweet, like a wine. Aromatic, floral and fruity, it was an unplanned natural pairing for the Thai feast that Mr B and I prepared. My advice? Keep a bottle on your wine rack, Champagne may be the obvious choice for that unexpected announcement but a bottle of Torres Natureo De-alcoholised Muscat for £5.99 from Adsa and Waitrose will help your nervous friends take their first little steps of abstinence.