Bar refuses to serve a pregnant woman

Starr - posted on 09/13/2010 ( 95 moms have responded )

372

37

10

Ok so I just read a blog about a woman in New Orleans who was 7 months prego and ordered a glass of Chardonnay at a bar. She was refused services with the waitress responding"we dont serve pregnant women here!"

Is this acceptable? Does a waitress have the right to not serve alcohol assuming the mother to be is of age? Would anyone try to get alcohol from a bar while pregnant? Has anyone? Do you think it is ok for pregnant women to drink alcohol? Have you?

This conversation has been closed to further comments

95 Comments

View replies by

[deleted account]

I'm not entirely opposed to pregnant women who have the odd glass on a special occasion, but I can understand why the waitress did what she did. What if something happened to the unborn baby while the mother was drinking at their establishment? I can see how it would be bad for business and I'm sure they're fearful of a lawsuit too. I think individual bars should have a right to refuse service if they have medical grounds for it.

Jenny - posted on 09/15/2010

4,426

16

126

I agree with Laci. They have no right to make that choice for her. I had an occasional beer or glass of wine while pregnant and see nothing wrong with it.



My partner went to se eBlues Traveller a few years ago. There was a woman who looked ready to deliver drinking beer after beer and doing shots while chain smoking. He said the staff looked disgusted but no one refused to serve her. What a stupid bitch.

Mary - posted on 09/15/2010

3,348

31

119

And THAT is the crux of this issue is...why anyone thinks that a pregnant woman has any less right to make her own choices and decisions regarding her body. Despite what many people think, a swollen belly does not suddenly give you license to inflict your unsolicited values, beliefs or opinions on her, no matter how well-intentioned you think yourself to be.

LaCi - posted on 09/15/2010

3,361

3

171

"Annie Krasnow of The Stir recently told the story of her friend who, at seven months pregnant, visited New Orleans with her husband for a "babymoon" -- in other words their "last hurrah" before entering parenthood. After a day of taking in the sights, they went to a quiet restaurant where the expectant mother ordered a glass of Chardonnay. The waitress responded, "We don't serve pregnant women here."

Annie posed the question, "What gives that server the right to refuse a grown woman alcohol?"

Some may argue that there is an innocent life at stake. In this case, her unborn baby can't speak for itself. But what about mothers who feed their obese children fast food? Or let them buy violent video games? Is anyone refusing them service? It's not like my friend was drunk. She wanted one glass of wine.

It seems that when women are pregnant, they become public property. I'm not condoning pregnant women getting drunk, but I don't think that waitress should be allowed to make that decision for anyone but herself."

That's the story, she wanted a single glass of chardonnay at a restaurant. So a glass of wine with dinner. Totally going to screw that fetus up.


http://community.todaymoms.com/_news/201...

LaCi - posted on 09/15/2010

3,361

3

171

I wouldn't stop serving her at any different point than I would any other customer.
Reasons:

1. I do not want any involvement in strangers decisions or the way they live their lives. This is also reason #1 that I ended up dropping out of college the first time around.

2. She's 7 months pregnant, if she's looking to get hammered now, she's probably been hammered many times throughout her entire pregnancy, my not serving her at any given point is not going to have any notable or lasting effect.

3. If she wants to get plastered, regardless of whether she has been throughout the pregnancy, if I cut her off, she'll go down the street to a different bar or the liquor store and get what she wants regardless.

4. Being a bartender, it's absolutely none of my business. The only time I need to make a decision is if someone needs a cab, or someone becomes a nuisance. Plain and simple.

That being said, depending on how pissed off I am on that particular night, I may make a snide comment if she seems to intend to drink excessively, but that's just me and is reason number 1 for why I dislike working in customer service.


"Actually McDonalds does have healthy options Fruit ’n Yogurt Parfait with granola, Salads. etc. "

No, these are not healthy options. Check out the VAST amount of vitamins these things have to offer. Mcdonalds salads, 7/11 salads listed on their website are over the limit in fat content- WITHOUT adding any dressing. Of the remaining 4, 3 of those only barely made it under the highest recommended proportion of fat. As for the fruit and yogurt parfait, I'm not entirely sure how they've done it but they've managed to zap the nutritional content out of yogurt, granola, and fruit. It has nothing to offer. Barely any vitamins, protein, or fiber.


"We simply don’t know if there is a threshold dose below which alcohol intake is safe, so the default position of most medical authorities has been to advise total abstinence during pregnancy. This is not a truly evidence-based recommendation, but rather an invocation of the precautionary principle."



"This study found that total abstinence from alcohol during pregnancy was correlated with an increased risk of stillbirth. Alcohol is known to inhibit uterine contractions and has been used IV in hospitals to stop premature labor.

This systematic review found an association of maternal alcohol intake with acute myelogenous leukemia in children.

This study showed a correlation with placental abruption but not with placenta previa.

This study found no association between maternal drinking and autism in general, but it found that binge drinkers (5 or more drinks on a single occasion) were less likely to have autistic children. They reasonably commented that this association was probably non-causal.

This study found a blunted response to pain in alcohol-exposed neonates.

This study found that “children born to mothers who drank up to 1–2 drinks per week or per occasion during pregnancy were not at increased risk of clinically relevant behavioural difficulties or cognitive deficits compared with children of abstinent mothers.”

A study by Willford, Leech, and Day found that prenatal alcohol exposure equivalent to 3-6 drinks a week correlated with lower IQ scores in African-American children but not in whites. As one commentator points out, the same study showed that maternal consumption of cocaine correlated with increased overall IQ scores in white children: this “suggests that perhaps the standards for confounding factors and statistical significance might have been too low.”
"


Precautionary.

Mary - posted on 09/15/2010

3,348

31

119

In response to the OP, no, I do not think it was "acceptable" for the waitress to refuse to serve one glass of wine to a woman soley because she was visibly pregnant. It is a judgement call that the waitress had no rights to make. I don't condone regular or excessive alcohol during pregnancy, but the odd glass of beer or wine every so often is not going to be harmful to either mother or baby. I did not drink any alcohol during my pregnancy...but then again, I also threw up every day, 3 or 4 times a day, until I delivered. Since some days even plain old water was a challenge, I was pretty sure a beer wasn't going have a snowball's chance in hell of staying down. However, had I not had this issue, I may have considered sipping on a glass of wine in the bathtub those last two weeks or so if it would have helped me sleep. Sadly, it would have just made me hurl in the tub, which wasn't very appealing.

Since everyone is hung up on this McDonald's thing, I think that any establishment refusing alcohol to a pregnant woman is no different than that teenager behind the counter at McD's refusing to supersize that value meal because you are a bit on the chunky side...or the girl at Chick Fil A telling you they're giving your kids the fruit instead of the waffle fries with their nuggets to instill healther eating habits.

Tanya - posted on 09/15/2010

1,073

23

54

So Laci when would you stop serving her? With the second glass or maybe the third. What if she is showing no signs of being drunk?

Sherri - posted on 09/15/2010

9,593

15

387

No, you can't get healthy food at mcdonalds, secondly, one glass of wine per month is also not going to hurt you. I'm not advocating massive alcohol consumption. As I've already said, occasional drinks have shown no impact on fetal development. Plain and simple. You're only making the comparison stronger by throwing out moderation arguments, moderation in all things, that would be my point.

Actually McDonalds does have healthy options Fruit ’n Yogurt Parfait with granola, Salads. etc.
Who is to say how much alcohol is okay,. Ask any doctor they will tell you eating at fast food restaurants is okay in moderation. Every OB I have ever seen says No alcohol if you are pregnant. So evidently the alcohol will do far more damage to the fetus then a meal at a fast food restaurant.

LaCi - posted on 09/15/2010

3,361

3

171

All I'm saying is the waitress's job is to serve a customer. If she disagrees with the customer's decision to drink that's fine, but she isn't authorized to make that particular judgement. If she is, then a mcdonalds cashier has the right to refuse service to pregnant women because their food is unhealthy, a grocery cashier can refuse to sell a pregnant woman alcohol, fish, etc, even though she has no idea who the food/drink is for, a hostess can refuse to seat a pregnant woman in a smoking section, a drug store cashier can refuse to sell OTC meds to a pregnant woman without a doctors note, a barista can refuse to sell pregnant women coffee, hot dog stands can put up no fetus allowed signs, so on.

[deleted account]

I get your point, Laci. I don't think pregnant women should be eating unhealthy foods or drinking alcohol, but if I had to pick I would prefer McD's to a drink.

LaCi - posted on 09/15/2010

3,361

3

171

"Well if eating McDonald's during pregnancy means you will have overweight kids then does drinking during pregnancy mean your kids will all be alcoholics?"

Actually, alcoholism does run in families. So if we want to continue in the moderation direction, someone who can't control themselves during pregnancy and manages to have a healthy child is more likely to have alcoholic offspring.


Should I restate my post so someone may be able to understand the point?

LaCi - posted on 09/15/2010

3,361

3

171

"FYI you can get healthy options at McDonald's Laci. I am not advocating a big mac a day but once a month isn't going to hurt you. We don't eat there often but we do allow 1 day a month for the kids to pick anywhere they want to eat for dinner and they get to pick on the day of there birthdays as well."



No, you can't get healthy food at mcdonalds, secondly, one glass of wine per month is also not going to hurt you. I'm not advocating massive alcohol consumption. As I've already said, occasional drinks have shown no impact on fetal development. Plain and simple. You're only making the comparison stronger by throwing out moderation arguments, moderation in all things, that would be my point.

LaCi - posted on 09/15/2010

3,361

3

171

"How is fast food comparable to drinking? It's probably not recommended for weight gain and strain on your ankles but it's not going to give the baby foetal alcohol syndrome or asthma or reduced grey matter."

Occassional drinking is not going to do this either. She ordered one glass of chardonnay, she did not order 15 jagerbombs, Thats the point. All things in moderation. Had she ordered the 15 bombs I may agree with refusal of service, but one glass of chardonnay does NOT imply she's a drinker.

Erin - posted on 09/14/2010

6,569

25

232

I think it's perfectly acceptable... in fact, I wish it was law. I understand there are cases where a pregnant woman is simply purchasing the drink for someone else or having ONE celebratory drink, and a law like this would prove a minor inconvenience to those trying to do the right thing and behaving responsibly. But I don't see it as a huge infringement on rights. I can't buy cold and flu or sinus medication without showing my ID because some dipshits hoard them to make drugs. That's a pain in my ass, but worth it when it means it's harder for people doing the wrong thing.



So no, I didn't drink after I found out I was pregnant. I don't think one drink is likely to hurt a baby (particularly late in the pregnancy) but I just don't think it's worth the risk.

Stifler's - posted on 09/14/2010

15,141

154

597

How is fast food comparable to drinking? It's probably not recommended for weight gain and strain on your ankles but it's not going to give the baby foetal alcohol syndrome or asthma or reduced grey matter.

Sherri - posted on 09/14/2010

9,593

15

387

FYI you can get healthy options at McDonald's Laci. I am not advocating a big mac a day but once a month isn't going to hurt you. We don't eat there often but we do allow 1 day a month for the kids to pick anywhere they want to eat for dinner and they get to pick on the day of there birthdays as well.

Jaime - posted on 09/14/2010

4,427

24

196

I am likely wrong Kati. I did work in a bar when I was 21 and I know that service to customers was at our discretion, so I guess that means the waitress had the right to refuse service. I still think it's silly in this case, but I think the laws here are the same as yours.

[deleted account]

Well if eating McDonald's during pregnancy means you will have overweight kids then does drinking during pregnancy mean your kids will all be alcoholics?

Rosie - posted on 09/14/2010

8,657

30

315

in my state jamie we can refuse service to anyone for any reason. signs are up in almost every business, including where i work, stating that. it is probably different in canada though, and maybe in other states too, i don't know. i live in iowa.

[deleted account]

Hey, I was on doctor's orders to eat McDonald's anytime I wanted when I was pregnant w/ my girls.... ;)

[deleted account]

Don't restaurants/bars have the right to refuse to serve anyone? I know I've seen those signs about it. I'm w/ the bar on this one.

I haven't had any alcohol in 11-12 years and my oldest 2 are almost 9, so that answers your other questions. :)

Jaime - posted on 09/14/2010

4,427

24

196

The waitress refused, and although I don't think she had the right to make that call, it was made and it's not the end of the world.

Yes, businesses reserve the right to refuse service to anyone...but not for any reason. At least not in Canada. If a person is behaving in a manner not conducive to the regulations set out by the business, then the business has a fair case for refusing service. But refusing service based on personal, moral objections is not cool.

There is plenty of information that is debate-worthy on this topic, but my stance is that it is the woman's choice to drink and it is not illegal for her to do so...even while pregnant. Most women refrain from alcohol (at least in NA). But alcohol also carries cultural implications. What if this woman was European and she is used to drinking wine with or after a meal or out with friends...whether pregnant or not? There is strong evidence to suggest that alcohol tolerance is different for people that indulge as part of their cultural practices, than people who indulge for the purpose of obtaining a rite-of-passage.

I'm not condoning the abuse of alcohol while pregnant, but if I worked in a bar and a pregnant woman ordered a drink from me, I would not refuse. If she ordered many drinks and I felt she was intoxicated, THEN I can refuse...because that is left up to the discretion of the bar itself. But simply refusing service for no reason, not so much.

[deleted account]

I'm pretty sure the bartender has the right to refuse service to who ever they want... That is how it was in my bar in Las Vegas.......On the other hand I'm 7 months pregnant & has ordered wine with dinner & was not refused.

LaCi - posted on 09/14/2010

3,361

3

171

It is a close comparison. A very close comparison. As I said before, it's been shown that occasional drinking has no effect on the fetus. I'd much rather have a glass of wine while pregnant than a gallon of cholesterol. Heart issues now start in the toddler years, high cholesterol, high blood pressure. Who says it isn't linked to what we eat when pregnant, you're eating what you're going to be feeding your kid. Pick up your healthy lifestyle now. I say it's exactly the same. One glass of wine= one big mac. Constant glasses of wine= constant big macs. Possibilities? obesity, diabetes, subsequent childhood diabetes, preecclampsia because you gain 200 pounds in big macs, childhood angioplasty, tell me that's not a bad thing.

Sherri - posted on 09/14/2010

9,593

15

387

Laci McDonalds is food weather you like the food or not but Alcohol as known negative effects on babies. Not even a close comparison!!

Sherri - posted on 09/14/2010

9,593

15

387

Most definitely acceptable. I believe not the waitress but the restaurant or bar have the right to serve or not serve anyone they deem not appropriate. No do not think it is ok for any pregnant woman to drink and no I never did with any of my pregnancies.

Britney - posted on 09/14/2010

33

35

1

i am tabc cetified and by texas law even if a women is in labor if she is over the age of 21 you have to serve her alcohol. thats a state law

Lyndsay - posted on 09/14/2010

2,008

19

175

Right on for her! I would do the exact same thing. I don't care about the pregnant woman's right to drink whatever she wants, what about the baby's right to be born without Fetal Alcohol Syndrome? I'd tell her that if she wants to drink alcohol while pregnant she can find another bar.

[deleted account]

Many bars and business do have signs that they reserve the right to refuse service. I've heard of bars not serving a drunk person additional alcohol when they feel they are too drunk. The business is just trying to protect themselves. She could come back with a baby with FAS and blame it on the bar for serving her. The bar refusing to serve her really doesn't bother me.

Brittney - posted on 09/14/2010

195

15

24

I think that a grown woman has the right to do whatever she wants to her body whether I think it's the right thing to do or not. The government is already to involved in our personal decisions. It's a glass of whine, not a needle full of heroin.

Rosie - posted on 09/14/2010

8,657

30

315

i don't think that the bar should have any right to keep the alcohol from her, however i ALWAYS see signs in bars, stores, whatever that they have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason. so if they didn't feel they wanted to serve her, i guess they don't have to.

Kim - posted on 09/14/2010

52

12

0

This is a tough one. The woman is old enough to have a glass of wine for sure, but they say whatever you eat or drink while pregnant is what the baby eats and drinks. So no, she had no legal right to refuse the pregnant adult a glass of wine, but maybe she had a right to refuse to serve a seven month old baby a glass of wine. If the woman wanted a glass of wine maybe she should have had it at home where she could enjoy it in peace. I don't think one glass of wine here and there would actually hurt the baby - our parents smoked and drank when they were pregnant with us because they didn't know the difference. Most of us turned out just fine and not born addicted to alcohol or cigarettes. But now that the medical society tells us it can cause harm to the unborn baby, any pregnant woman consuming alcohol or smoking in public is going to be judged badly. Legally, I don't know if the waitress was right or wrong. I have never heard of it being illegal, so maybe the law should put a clearer definition on the subject. A different waiter in the same bar may have served her the wine - so maybe there should be a law stating whether or not it is indeed legal. I don't think it should be up to the opinion of the server one way or the other.

Starr - posted on 09/14/2010

372

37

10

Ok so I have mixed feelings on it. Even though I was told it was fine to have a glass of wine here and there, I still did not. I don't think that one glass will harm a baby but I'm not taking my chances. But, I still don't think they have the right to deny service inless the women were to get drunk and wow what a poor decision that would be. So then I started thinking even more on this topic...Technically since the mother is 7 months along the baby could survive on its own...so it is a baby..and well, the mother is feeding/drinking for 2...so wouldn't the baby need an ID too? Im just saying..LOL

LaCi - posted on 09/14/2010

3,361

3

171

The waitress does not have the right to deny service. I didn't drink when I was pregnant, well, not after I found out I was pregnant. I can't guarantee I didn't drink before that. Anyway, studies haven't concluded at what point alcohol consumption actually impacts the fetus, and an occasional drink has not been shown to have health implications during pregnancy. I say better safe than sorry, but to me an occasional drink if FAR better than eating crap, mcdonalds (et al), when you're pregnant. So to each their own. If they can allow her to not serve a drink then a cashier should be allowed to tell her she can't have a big mac. Just saying.

Nikki - posted on 09/14/2010

5,263

41

554

I can't believe they are allowed to do that! it's discrimination, not that I condone drinking while pregnant, but it's not illegal therefore the staff at this bar should have no right to refuse service. Her body her choice. While I don't think it's ok to drink while pregnant, and I said I never would I did have 100mls of a light alcohol wine just before I went into labour, I was stressed, uncomfortable, hot and in pain, my midwife told me to have a bath and a glass of wine to relax because my blood pressure was going up, so I did, it worked.

Stifler's - posted on 09/14/2010

15,141

154

597

It should be. People kept telling me it was okay to have one or two when I was pregnant, chea let's get my unborn baby drunk. pfft.

Jodi - posted on 09/14/2010

26,042

36

3891

Actually Emma, they can't refuse to serve a pregnant woman on the basis of discrimination. It isn't against the law to drink when you are pregnant, therefore, it is against the law to refuse service. The only basis on which people can refuse service is if they are underage, or if they are drunk.

Stifler's - posted on 09/14/2010

15,141

154

597

LOL. I wouldn't serve her either, in Australia they have the right to refuse service to whoever they like - pregnant or not. I didn't drink at all during my pregnancy either.

Joanna - posted on 09/13/2010

2,096

19

134

No I don't think it's acceptable to refuse service to a pregnant woman. The woman is an adult and if they are of legal age to do so then it's up to them to use their brains on whether or not it's a good idea to drink.

I ordered a glass of Carbernet on my birthday (I was 17 weeks pregnant) and had no problems. I just wanted to toast with my friends and take a sip or two, and that's what I did. My husband finished my glass after my couple sips.

Meghan - posted on 09/13/2010

3,169

33

202

I work in a bar and there have been people who have served pregnant woman....I morally wouldn't feel right about doing it but as a server I don't have the right to refuse service to anyone unless they are drunk or come in drunk. It's not illegal to drink while pregnant...it's just stupid. I personally would go to management and express my concerns and have them find someone else to serve her.

Tanya - posted on 09/13/2010

1,073

23

54

I personally feel like you should have to right to refuse service to a pregnant women. I live in a state where you can not, by law, refuse to service.

I know this because at one of the restaurant I worked at a pregnant lady started ordering shots. The bartender asked me to get a manager. The man. told us we could do nothing.

Another time I was out and saw a preggo with a glass of wine. Now big deal on the first one. We started giving her dirty looks on the second one. Then we started talking shit on the third one and left. So sad.

?? - posted on 09/13/2010

4,974

0

171

I don't think the waitress has any right to not serve a pregnant woman, for all they know it could be for her husband or just because she wants a glass to toast with (yes, I know people who do that) and some doctors even 'prescribe' a woman have a glass of wine a month.

I've bought alcohol while pregnant. I didn't consume any of it, and I never did consume any alcohol once finding out I was pregnant. I still had to go to the store or to the bar and pay for it to bring it back to the table or my home for my man, friends and family.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms