New York housewife Bethenny Frankel appears to have broken numerous rules for a healthy pregnancy and post-natal baby care, judging from her new reality show “Bethenny Getting Married.”
Even though she is increasingly holding herself out as an expert on childrearing, the reality star engaged in a number of unhealthy activities that could have adversely affected her baby, and maybe even triggered her pre-mature birth.
In one scene, the obviously pregnant Frankel is wolfing down a big plate of mussels, even though pregnancy experts warn expectant mothers to stay away from shellfish.
The American Pregnancy Association warns expectant mothers to avoid both raw and cooked shellfish, principally oysters, clams and mussels.
Cooking helps prevent some types of infection, but it does not prevent the algae-related infections that are associated with red tides, the group advises.
In the same episode, Bethenny, who married pharmaceutical sales rep Jason Hoppy in March 2010, can be seen sneaking a beer while cooking in the kitchen.
The March of Dimes, which specializes in childhood afflictions, warns expectant mothers to stay away from all alcohol consumption.
“Although many women are aware that heavy drinking during pregnancy can cause birth defects, many do not realize that moderate or even light drinking also may harm the fetus,” it advises on its Web site.
A Danish study of 40,000 pregnant women found that drinking could trigger a pre-term birth, depending on the amount of alcohol consumed and other factors.
After her baby Bryn was born premature, Bethenny, a big advocate of breastfeeding, can been seen drinking in several scenes in other episodes.
In one particularly incredible scene, Bethenny tells her infant nanny to bring her a beer, and she drinks it while nursing!
Husband Jason walks in and says incredulously: “What are you drinking?”
“Beer,” Bethenny replies.
“Beer and nursing our baby?” he says. “Doesn’t it go right through to our baby?”
“Yeah, I feel like she had a stressful day,” Bethenny flippantly replies.
Frankel justified taking the drink because her infant nanny noted that it would help stimulate breast milk.
But the American Academy of Pediatrics advises just the opposite.
“Breastfeeding mothers should avoid the use of alcoholic beverages, because alcohol is concentrated in breast milk, and its use can inhibit milk production,” it says.
Bethenny’s baby was born at New York Presbyterian Hospital. It’s unknown whether the hospital condones drinking by post-delivery patients.
Experts advise that as long as the alcohol is in a woman’s blood, it is also in her breast milk.
If a woman is impaired in any way by the alcohol, including a light buzz, the alcohol is in breast milk and will affect her baby.
Frankel can hardly draw on her own childhood for positive behavior.
She claims she suffered an abusive, dysfunctional upbringing marred by eating disorders, violence, alcoholism and drug abuse, although her devastated mother denies the allegations.
Frankel, who’s starring in her third reality TV show, caused an uproar when she warned the ladies of the “Real Housewives of DC” to keep their children off-camera as much as possible.
“I would say keep your kids out of it as much as possible,” Bethenny, 39, said during a media conference call to promote breast-feeding.
“You don’t want them to go bananas like the Jersey housewives’ kids!’ You’ve got to be an adult and know how to deal with it.”
All but one of the DC cast members are women in their 40s who each have between two and five children each, none of whom are newborns.
Frankel cause another uproar when she rapidly lost 30 pounds in three weeks after giving birth by Caesarean section.
“I’m concerned if she’s taking care of herself, getting enough rest and enough food, and not obsessing about losing the weight so quickly,” Peg Moline, editor-in-chief of Fit Pregnancy, told the New York Post.
Frankel defended her weight loss and exercise regime, claiming they were doctor supervised.