A pregnant woman was refused a glass of wine in a pub because the barman said he couldn't have serving her alcohol on his conscience.
Mum–to-be Jane Hampson, 37, who is overdue with her first baby, ordered a small glass of red wine at Pi Bar in Liverpool. A barman told her: 'Sorry, I can't serve you'.
When Jane asked him why, he said: "I refuse to have serving alcohol to a pregnant woman on my conscience."
Jane and her partner Alistair Townend, 37, asked for an explanation, but after their discussion attracted attention, they left the bar feeling embarrassed. Jane then had a glass of wine at a different bar in Liverpool. She says she usually has a small glass of wine around once a week.
Current NHS guidelines advises that pregnant women should drink no more than one to two units of alcohol a week. This is around one 125ml glass of wine a week.
NHS Choices carries advice which says:
"Women should be advised that if they choose to drink alcohol while they are pregnant, they should drink no more than 1-2 units of alcohol once or twice a week. There is uncertainty about how much alcohol is safe to drink in pregnancy, but at this low level there is no evidence of any harm to their unborn baby."
Jane, who says she was very embarrassed by the incident, told reporters:
"'I couldn't believe it - it was so humiliating. There is no way I would endanger my unborn baby yet it was being insinuated that I was doing just that and being irresponsible. At the time the bar was packed and all the customers were looking over at us to see what all the commotion was about. We felt we had no choice but to leave because it was so embarrassing.
"The fact I am pregnant was none of his business. I appreciate a bar's management reserve the right not to serve customers but obviously I wasn't drunk or misbehaving or under 18 - so he had no reason not to serve me.
I am not some Vicky Pollard-type binge drinker. I have done extensive research on the effects of drinking alcohol when pregnant and the fact is there's nothing wrong with having a small glass of wine every week. I have enjoyed a small glass of red wine with a meal once a week throughout my pregnancy but it's not been every week.
"I would describe myself as health-conscious. I have run two marathons in the past and I am not into filling my body with anything that shouldn't be there. When you look at how much of an issue excess alcohol causes in this country, I really don't feel that any establishment that chooses to profit from alcohol sales is in any position to judge anyone."
The mum-to-be, who works for Deutsche Bank, described the incident as 'outrageous', adding:
"'I went to the toilet leaving Alistair at the bar and when I came back the barman came up to me and said he wouldn't serve me because he couldn't have serving a pregnant woman alcohol on his conscience. It was outrageous and embarrassing.
"We asked why but he wouldn't budge. We went to another bar nearby and I drank a glass of wine there instead.
"Throughout my pregnancy I have taken good care of myself and made the best choices for my baby. I eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and make a fresh carrot, ginger and apple juice every morning. I don't even use normal deodorant because I am concerned about using environmentally friendly and ethical products.
"I have read numerous articles about the effects of drinking alcohol when pregnant and I believe one small glass of wine once a week is not harmful to me or my baby. I had no alcohol during first 12 weeks of pregnancy apart from one glass of bubbly and one wine in that 12 week period and then, at most one glass a week, but not every week.
"It was usually with a nice meal out or on the odd occasion, like that Tuesday just after as long-a-walk as I could manage. The barman who refused to serve me was only in his 20s. It's not up to him to decide what I should and shouldn't be putting in my body.
I felt like asking whether he refuses to serve fat people pies, or whether the bar checks how much caffeine a woman has consumed that day before they serve her a cup of coffee. There is recent research that suggests baldness is linked to alcohol consumption, are they going to start measuring people's hairlines before they serve them a pint?
Ben Reynolds, area manager of Pi Bar said:
"I would first and foremost like to apologise to Ms Hampson for any upset or embarrassment caused. I can fully understand her grievances and can completely understand why she felt upset. I would like to state that we have no company policy on the serving or not serving of alcohol to pregnant people. Why would we? It's none of our business.
"What occurred was simply the result of a junior member of staff making a mistake and getting his wires crossed.He is deeply sorry for upsetting Ms Hampson and assures me that he was not, as I fear she believes, making a judgment on her, but rather thought for some reason, despite his training, that licensing laws forbade the serving of alcohol to pregnant people.
"However I can understand, given the unfortunate way he appears to have said it, why Ms Hampson felt he was insinuating otherwise. I would very much like to get in contact with Ms Hampson to apologise directly."
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