Doctrine,  Motherhood

I’m Pregnant! Should I still take the Lord’s Supper?

red wine, red heartsBy Vanessa Rasanen

“Dear Katie Luther Sisters, I’m pregnant, and I just read newer guidelines that say no amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy. Can I still partake in the Lord’s Supper?”

Yes, you can, and you should. It’s good for you and the baby. Next question…

I’m just kidding, of course. Not about my answer, but about that being all that needs to be said on the matter.

The Truth is the Lord’s Supper is good — for both you and your unborn little one. It is there in the bread and wine that Christ our Lord comes to us personally, physically, and substantially to give us the very forgiveness our broken bodies and souls need. And this is forgiveness needed by both us and our little ones who are conceived and growing in the original sin that plagues us all. That forgiveness in our Lord’s Supper is not just for us, but for our unborn as well.

But what do we do when the world tells us that alcohol — that wine — that Christ has instituted actually harms our little ones?

On one hand we can ignore all medical advice and claim nothing good comes from non-Christians speaking from their non-Christ-focused vocations and worldviews, essentially saying “lalalala I don’t have to listen to you, pagans!” (Because we all know all medical professionals are pagans? Um… no.) But this overlooks the very real and substantial way God provides for us through our neighbors (even those non-Christian ones) to provide us the things we need in this earthly life……. you know, such as medical care.

On the other hand we could run away from the Lord’s Supper, refusing to consume it at all costs for months and months. Or worse we could seek to corrupt this Godly gift into something it isn’t to ease our world-focused consciences by substituting the wine Christ instituted with grape juice.

Neither is a good solution, as both lead us away from gifts our Lord provides either through others vocations or through His own flesh and blood. Yet this is no reason we mothers-to-be must fret or wring our hands. Our Lord provides for us. Yes, even in these confusing and trying and worrying times of pregnancy, He provides.

While no, our Lord didn’t provide us with some low-alcohol wine specifically available for pregnant moms, He did provide us with pastors — steadfast men faithful to God’s Word — to lead us through these confusing questions. It is in my own pastor I found two possible options for me in my pregnancies:

1) Understand that the wine consumed weekly in communion is negligible in the grand scheme of things and holds limited risk to me and my blessed little one in my womb…


2) Request a small drop of wine be added to an individual cup of water for me at communion throughout my pregnancy.

Regardless of what option we expecting mothers choose, the Truth we must hold to as we weigh our decisions with prayer and our pastor’s guidance is that the Lord’s Supper delivers to us the forgiveness of our sins, and it does this through the wine He instituted in His Sacrament and not in virgin substitutes we attempt to hock as “just as good”, as if God’s Word on His own Sacrament doesn’t matter.

As with all my advice, though, I do recommend always seeking the guidance of the pastor our Lord has placed over your soul. He has that role for your good, please let him serve you in it.

Blessings to you and your new little one — and prayers for peace and guidance as you make so many tough decisions during your pregnancy and parenthood!

Photo under creative commons


  • James

    There is no promise in the Bible that an unborn baby benefits from the Sacrament his mother receives. We should not assert that he does. The Sacrament is beneficial to the one who examines himself and receives the body and blood in faith. Mothers whose unborn children are sick, dying, or who have died in the womb can and should draw comfort from the fact that the God who hears our prayers is the God who has revealed himself as our Father through Jesus Christ who has atoned for both original and actual sin. We know the character of God. We know his desire to save. In the darkness of faith, we lay hold of nothing but his word. And if the handle doesn’t seem to fit the particular sorrow, keep holding on and trust that your God and Father loves all your children and desires to rescue them from sin, death, and hell. Reason thus: if God so offers me his body and blood for my comfort and forgiveness, surely he who shed it for my child as well wants me to know his good will toward any one who dies in my womb. Thus believing, receive the Sacrament especially during pregnancy to silence all doubts regarding God’s favor toward his children.

  • --Alone

    Go back and read the article which frightened you. It very probably is saying, “refrain from one beer, one mixed drink or one glass of wine” any of which is a great deal more alcohol than you will receive in communion.
    I would use the chalice, and take a very small sip, if I was concerned. But don’t confuse the Lord’s Supper with “partying”!

    You have got to take all doctors’ advice with a grain of common sense!
    E.g., 60 years ago you had to fight the hospital nurses to breastfeed your baby at all and they often got infant cereal at a month. And thrived!

    In more recent times, doctors have ruled “nothing but breast milk for six months”. But some mothers do not have sufficient milk for the growing child; the “one size directive” does NOT fit all.

    If you have a mother, you might ask her advice. She raised you, so she can’t be totally incompetent. It she’s 1000 miles away, as mine was, you have lots better communication than I did! But you might also listen to women in your own congregation who have children from 1-10.

  • Bill

    Another good option is intinction if your church uses the common cup. You don’t even have to submerge the wafer, just get a little color on it; there’s amazing power in the Blood of Christ!

    However, if your church uses the individual cups, there is no commmand that I am aware of that you must consume it all; take a tiny sip and allow the rest to be disposed of in the proper manner by the pastor or altar guild.

    While I can’t imagine the small amount of wine normally received at Communion could cause any problems, I believe you decide what you are comfortable with so you can enjoy this wonderful gift to us without fear or guilt.

  • Donna

    Do not ever consume alcohol while pregnant. Doctors say 0 drops of alcohol during pregnancy, so consume 0 drops!
    Do not rely on your pastor as a medical professional!!!
    Do not give God so little credit! He is not so weak that He needs you to drink wine with alcohol instead of nonalcoholic wine/grape juice or else He can’t be present in the sacrament. Besides- avoiding alcohol while pregnant is a sacrifice you are making for the health of the child He is giving you! Would you be so foolhardy with that gift?

  • Becca

    Donna, are you kidding? Obviously, you didn’t even bother to read the alcohol studies the U.S. Academy of Pediatrics based their recommendation on. Their study states that “in some studies, as little as one DRINK a day may have caused problems”. That is only one of the studies they reviewed, all the others required MORE than one drink a day to cause discernible damage. I submit that you could take the Lord’s Supper every single weak of your pregnancy and would be hard put to manage to consume more than 1/2 an ounce a week. I also believe that if the amount of alcohol consumed by a pregnant woman during Holy Communion was harmful to the baby, the Holy Spirit would have included it in His Word. Something like, in Acts 2:42 “and they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching….and the breaking of the bread,” and then would have added “except for the women who were with child, because that’s bad for babies” . Surely we believe that God is perfectly aware of how a pre-born baby reacts to alcohol. It’s not like these studies are a surprise to the Lord.

  • Vanessa Rasanen

    Yet we should not give God so little credit that we do not take Him at His Word.

    “26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the3 covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” — Matthew 26:26 (ESV)

    God’s Word is clear in His institution of the Lord’s Supper. Wine. Eat. Drink. No grape juice. No dunking. No chewing the wine that seeped into the bread.

    Eat. Drink. Wine. For the forgiveness of your sins.

    Let’s let God’s Word stand and not try to weasel around it with our own reason and folly.

  • Mary Clausen

    When my Ob/Gyn informed me twenty-three years ago that I was pregnant, he ran through the list of things I should avoid, including alcohol. I said “I’m a Lutheran, and we use wine in the Sacrament. And I’m not giving up the Sacrament because I’m pregnant!” He said that wasn’t enough wine to hurt me. I refuse to believe that God would allow harm to come to a baby in the womb through one swallow of our Savior’s precious blood, once a month, twice a month, or even every Sunday. Taking Communion isn’t going to hurt your baby. NOT taking Communion could be spiritually harmful to YOU. You “sit out” the Sacrament for seven or eight months after learning you’re pregnant, then you “sit out” for however long you breastfeed your baby, and all that while you’re denying yourself the precious and urgently-needed gifts that come to you in the Body and Blood of Christ. Dear sisters – trust your Lord and take the Sacrament, for the forgiveness of your sins and the strengthening of your faith. There’s a baby on the way! You need all the help you can get! :)

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