I’ve served alcohol to a few pregnant women in my career. I can probably count them on one hand. Some people judge them for drinking; some people judge me for serving them. The truth is, restaurants are private operations that can enforce any policy they want in regards to alcohol service. Bartenders absolutely can refuse to serve pregnant women. However, this may leave them susceptible to lawsuits since the women could claim that they are being denied fair and equal service.
Personally, I believe that what a woman chooses to do is her own business. That being said… there are women who have an occasional drink throughout pregnancy and women who make me shake my head.
I had a woman, mid-thirties, come up to me once who was so pregnant I was afraid we’d be cleaning up after her once her water broke. The baby looked ready to tend bar. It was the middle of summer, and this woman looked sweaty, agitated, and uncomfortable. She came up and ordered a Pina Colada. I asked her if she wanted it non-alchoholic and she quickly said “No.” Not that I could ever understand what she was going through, but it was that point in time when you know better than to second guess the customer. She got her rum-filled Pina Colada (I short-poured it a little) and she went on her way looking a little more relaxed and calm.
Now. Another woman comes in. This woman was early to mid-twenties. I didn’t see her enter since I was helping another guest. When I turned around she was sitting at the bar with her friend. She ordered a pinot grigio and her friend ordered a Cosmo. A few friends joined them. As I was pouring everyone their third round, people started asking this woman when she was going to find out the sex of her baby. I almost dropped the martini I was pouring. I walked around the bar pretending to go get something, and I saw her approximately five-six month pregnant belly. She started going on and on about how she hoped it was a girl because they could do so many more things together than if it was a boy. Two hours later she was still at the bar. I’d say she and her friend probably had six drinks each.
What you choose to do in your own home is your own business. And as I said before, I do believe that what a woman chooses to do is her own right. However, there comes a time when you have to think about how your actions are going to be perceived. I have a friend who RARELY drinks, doesn’t smoke, and has suffered though multiple miscarriages. I’ve known others who can’t even get pregnant despite their countless efforts. And yet this young mother not only chooses to indulge in multiple drinks, but she chooses to do it loudly, publicly, in front of her friends as if she’s showing off. Makes me shake my head.