A pregnant woman was refused a drink in a Newmarket establishment. Readers were invited to decide what they thought about this on a Herald poll. The choices were: "The bar was wise to deny the woman a drink" and "It's up to the woman herself if she wants a drink." I'm not certain those options are mutually exclusive. I think it's possible for both of those sentences to be true to the same time.

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The story was reported in terms that were sympathetic to the woman. It was her wedding anniversary. It was a "rare night out". She had ordered a "single glass of sparkling wine" - which, of course, is what most of us would do whether we are pregnant or not. I don't know anyone who orders, say, three glasses of sparkling wine at once. That would be weird.

It also made me wonder where the cut-off point might have been. If the implication was that a single glass of wine was okay then what would have been inappropriate? I'm guessing shooters and cocktails would have been far less excusable.


The woman was 36 weeks pregnant. After months of going without all sorts of things it's not surprising that she felt like bending the rules.

When you're pregnant, even the most innocuous activities are off limits. You mustn't eat ham or camembert. You mustn't colour your hair or take hot baths.

Day-to-day activities become things that could harm your unborn child. It's intense. That baby inside you is a liability right from the start.

I feel sorry for the woman who was refused the drink. Until then it's likely she had taken great care of herself and her baby. She would have been so embarrassed to be accused of endangering her baby.

By that stage of the pregnancy you're probably relaxing a little bit. It's a time to relish the fact that you've been a textbook mother-to-be so far and you can now afford to chill a little. This woman had clearly decided it was time for a quiet drink.

Well, that idea backfired when an eagle-eyed waitress spotted her and asked the question no one should ask anyone ever: "Are you pregnant?" This is a perilous inquiry to make. What if she is merely a woman of generous proportions? What if she had given birth last week? The mind boggles.

Just by asking the question, the waitress has shown that she is naive and somewhat innocent about the ways of the world. She clearly thought she was doing the right thing. Most medical professionals would certainly advise pregnant women to avoid alcohol since there is supposedly no "safe level" of alcohol consumption. There are instances of babies that have been born with foetal alcohol syndrome even when the mother claims to have consumed only low levels of alcohol.

It is unsurprising readers are divided on this issue. I think the bar had no right to refuse to serve the woman.


But now I'm trying to imagine which sight I would be more uncomfortable witnessing: an obviously pregnant woman drinking in a bar or a waitress refusing to serve a pregnant woman alcohol. They just might, in fact, be equally unappealing scenarios.

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