Alcohol, Austria and the birthing process

One of the more frustrating things about being expectant parents is the conflicting advice. Do this – no, don’t do that. Be sure to avoid this. No, it doesn’t matter. And so on. Today we had an interesting meeting with a midwife…

We were lucky enough to find a woman who spoke English well, who came to our home to talk about the whole process with my wife and I. We have read lots of books, but it was very useful to talk about some of the details with a real person who really knows what’s going on, especially things concerning the local rules, customs, procedures and practices.

What really stuck in my mind though, was her advice about the use of alcohol. First off, when the woman first starts having contractions, but they’re not yet strong enough or long enough to warrant going to the hospital, she had this to say: “take a nice, hot bath with lavender and some oils (ok so far I’m thinking), then, have a glass of strong alcohol, like grappa or whiskey, and try and get some sleep”. Oh…ok… After the baby has been born, she recommends a glass of prosecco to help get the milk started, then and in the weeks and months ahead, as the baby is nursing (well, not during, but just after, so that the alcohol is processed before the baby gets it), a glass of nice, dark beer to “stimulate milk production”. All in all, I guess it might lead to happier moms, and happier babies, but it’s certainly different than prevailing attitudes in the US regarding alcohol!

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