Rachel Weisz causes controversy talking about drinking while pregnant

11/15/2006 at 03:44 PM ET

Actress Rachel Weisz, 35, who gave birth to son Henry Chance Aronofsky in May, caused controversy when talked about drinking alcohol while being pregnant. When asked at the premiere of Fountain whether having a glass of wine during pregnancy is fine, she replied: "Personally I do. They say not in the first three months though, but I think that after that it’s fine. I mean in Europe they drink it". Her comments were received as "ill-informed" and "dangerous".

Scientists have different views on this. UK guidelines say it is okay for pregnant women to drink one or two units; one or two small glasses of wine once or twice a week. However, in USA and Canada, complete abstinence of drinking is advised for expectant mothers. A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "We recommend a guideline of one or two units of alcohol once or twice a week, at any stage of pregnancy. The principal outcome from our scientific tests is that for most, there is no adverse effects for low to moderate pre-natal alcohol consumption. Women should stick to these guidelines even if they are trying for a baby."

We ask you to take Weisz’s comments calmly. She was born and raised in the UK so she has different views than our American readers.

What did your doctor advise you on alcohol consumption during your pregnancy?

Source: The Daily Mail

Thanks to CBB readers Mary Beth, Shannon, Aline and Tabby.

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Olivia on

It’s a personal choice really. In some parts of the world women are told it is okay to drink moderately and many women still eat things like soft cheese and shell fish.

Gwyneth drank guiness and as long as it is just a drink here and there I dont think it matters.

Fynn on

My doctor didn’t advise anything because I never asked. I avoided alcohol for the first trimester and then had an occassional small glass of wine if I felt like it after that. No harm done, as far as I can tell. Pregnant or not, I usually abide by my mother’s “Use your own common sense” philosophy.

MommyX1 on

Oh god. Not one drop. I absolutely disagree with drinking ANY alcohol during pregnancy.

Jackie on

I live in the US, in Ohio, and during all 3 of my pregnancies, my ob/gyn (a different one for each pregnancy) said a small glass of wine a day was perfectly fine after the first trimester. I didn’t drink, because I don’t like alcohol and don’t see the point in it.

Yonni on

I didn’t drink any. Not one drop. I am not a drinker anyway, but I had my fair share of soda :/

yogadaisy on

I consumed no alcohol at all during my 3 pregnancies. I figured it’s only 9 months and I hated the idea of passing on even a minute amount of alcohol to my baby.

I think it’s better to be safe than sorry regarding my unborn baby’s health.

Marie on

I’m from the US.

My midwife said that a Guinness at the end of my pregnancy would be okay. During my pregnancy, a small glass of wine was considered okay, especially red wine.

I never drank alcohol until he was born though. Personally just didn’t feel okay doing it. I think because we have it pounded into our brains that it’s bad, so I just couldn’t.

However, I am nursing and do enjoy the occasional glass of red wine or Guinness. This was okay’ed with my midwife.

Taurus on

I have had 3 beautiful girls and while pregnant with my second I was actually ORDERED by my doctor to drink a glass of red wine. She said it would help with any braxton hicks I might experience on New Year’s Eve, because she was going to be at least four hours away that night. I found it odd, and since I don’t drink alcohol anyway I didn’t do it then. I have heard from many people since this time that their doctors have also said alcohol was ok, along the lines of a drink/perweek-but they were all told that red wine was the only acceptable alcohol.

I have to admit something else though. During all 3 of my pregnancies I’ve smoked marijuana daily. I was always too afraid to admit this to my own OBGYN’s, but a girlfriend of mine was told that a joint a DAY was acceptable. Since then I have done a lot of research on marijuana during pregnancy, and have been unable to find compelling evidence against it. Marijuana was the only thing that took away my nausea, and sometimes the only way I could manage to eat a bite of food. We’re too politically correct in the US, I think…

Love on

I think the whole thing is taken way out of proportion. Rachel did not do anything wrong and i respect her more for her honesty.

Lisa on

I an English also, and while I chose not to drink during pregnancy, there is nothing wrong with Rachel’s comment.

Katie on

I can’t believe there was a fuss about this. People in this country are so bizarrely absolutist about things. It’s not like she recommended doing tequila shots and going to keg parties. It’s a glass or two of wine now and again. Hardly FAS inducing. Although I did grow up in the UK so I guess I don’t have the American perspective. I tend to be more relaxed. I actually didn’t feel like drinking when pregnant, but I have plenty of friends who did. Not a thing wrong with any of the babies, needless to say.

Ainesmom on

I can’t believe there was a fuss about this. People in this country are so bizarrely absolutist about things. It’s not like she recommended doing tequila shots and going to keg parties. It’s a glass or two of wine now and again. Hardly FAS inducing. Although I did grow up in the UK so I guess I don’t have the American perspective. I tend to be more relaxed. I actually didn’t feel like drinking when pregnant, but I have plenty of friends who did. Not a thing wrong with any of the babies, needless to say.

Deb on

When I was studying abroad in Ireland I was told, by several Irish people, about how good drinking Guinness is and about all the vitamins and stuff in it and that they actually recommend that a pregnant woman drink a pint a day


But yeah I don’t know how I feel about it really. I think I would rather not take any risks of fetal alcohol syndrome and just abstain. But it’s different for different people. Whatever makes the baby come out healthy.

Noelle on

I agree with Rachel–and I’m in the U.S.

I drank no alcohol for the first 3 months of pregnancy with my daughter Alanna (after I found out I was pregnant.) For the remaining time, with permission from my doctor, I drank moderately. I’d have maybe one glass of wine a week and occasionally sips of a friend’s cocktail. Alanna is 2 years old now and couldn’t be healthier.

I’m in my 2nd pregnancy, due next week and I’ve followed those same guidelines.

Jessica Bird on

With my third child, I didn’t know I was pregnant until I was already 13 weeks–he was a big surprise (post vasectomy). I attended a friend’s wedding on my birthday and everyone was handing me drinks to celebrate my bday. I was downright drunk. Three days later I went for a regular old annual appt. and found out I was pregnant. I was so upset and feared something would be wrong with my son. Turns out he is in the gifted program at school, plays the piano and does gymnastics (he is 8).

melanie on

The only thing that I take offense at is when people make comments like “Europeans do it” as solid reasoning. Also, may I mention, the UK does not represent the whole of Europe. My French doctor told me that I wasn’t allowed any alcohol at all (zero) for all 3 pregnancies. Drinking while pregnant is quite looked down upon in France, as well as Norway and Sweden (two other places where I’ve spent a good deal of time).

Sabina on

I too was born and raised in the UK, and I wouldn’t touch a drop of alcohol from the moment I found out I was pregnant to the moment I gave birth. I’ve seen documentaries about what alcohol does/can do to unborn children, and for me it’s not worth the risk just to get a bit merry. Plus I don’t like the idea of being drunk whilst pregnant incase I fell over or got into an accident.

Carol on

When I was pregnant with our first child we were living in rural Northern Pennsylvania. My doctor told me in my last month that I could feel free to have one small glass of wine at night before I went to bed to relax me, help me sleep and relax the pelvic muscles. I don’t drink anyways so I didn’t but my doctor said it was perfectly fine.

Friggin Boobs on

Aww, it’s not like she stayed at the bar till final call. I see nothing harmful or foul in having a few sips of red wine or Guinness in your third trimester. Geeze, by that time you’d probably need them :0

Lorus on

I see nothing wrong with the occasional drink. I personally never drank during my pregnancy because I hate the taste of alcohol.

Mandie on

I am 20 weeks pregant, and from the uk and at my first midwife appointment i was told 100% not to drink any alcohol. But this is a new thing that has only just came in, so when Rachel was pregnant she would of been told it was fine. But now in the UK they really dont want you drinking any.

Catherine on

When I was pregnant, my Dr. said that having a drink every now and then was fine (same true for caffeine). In fact, one of his comments which should be taken not too seriously (knowing this doc) was that ” drug addicts have healthy babies all the time” That said, it should be pointed out that drug addicts/alcoholics have a much higher incidence of low birth weight babies and babies with other developmental problems at birth. I am not a big drinker, but I did enjoy a glass of wine every now and then and my daughter (nearly 6) is extremely healthy.

Nikky on

Anybody with half a brain knew what Rachel was talking about. It was the press that tried to make it something else.

Rachel said nothing wrong.

Karen on

I have worked with children who have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and let me tell you, the effects are heartbreaking and irreversible.
Even small amounts of alcohol consumed during pregnancy can cause severe cognitive and physical defects in children, as well as emotional disorders.

Even if some doctors say that there is LESS risk after the first trimester, why would an expectant mother want to take ANY risk with the health and safety of her unborn child.

In this information age where there is a wealth of medical information at our fingertips through the internet, there is no excuse to be underinformed about this issue and to rely on hearsay.

Here is just one of many websites that provides facts about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder:


For those who think it is no big deal to drink during pregnancy, please take the time to learn the facts.

ceci on

I work with preemies, and I can tell you that smoking and drinking during pregnancy influences the babie’s growth in-utero.

I’d also be worried about the person who smoked a joint/day.Just because you can’t find any compeling evidence that it’s not good for the baby, doesn’t mean it’s safe…

maria on

To each his own I guess. I can’t see how alcohol can be any worse than some of the junk that people eat nowadays. Coke, fast foods and all these crazy additives that we shove down our throats are pretty unhealthy too.
Plenty of women don’t find out they are pregnant for a few weeks and drink a lot prior to that.

allison on

While I doubt that a very limited amount of alcohol would have serious consequenses on a develpoing fetus why take the chance? I don’t think women who have the occasional glass of wine are horrible people – they are just willing to risk more than I am.

Also the point about women who don;t know they are pregnant and drink- well for the first short while there is no cross over between mother and baby.

Cathy on

Rachel is not saying pregnant women to drink alcohol, she just said that a glass of wine in her opinion after the first trimester is OK. A glass, not glasses.

The whole thing is being blown way out of proportion by a very small few in the media looking for a story that’s not even there.