DEAR HARRIETTE: My best friend is four months pregnant. She is happy about it, kind of, but she is a party girl at heart, and she's having a hard time changing her ways. She still goes out every weekend and parties hard, like coming home after 3 a.m. It's crazy. Plus, she still drinks alcohol and smokes cigarettes. I can't believe what I see when I'm with her. When I have mentioned that she should stop, she just gets mad at me. How can I convince her to make smarter choices? I would hate to see her either kill her baby or compromise its health. What can I do? -- Just Say No, Chicago
DEAR JUST SAY NO: While you cannot control your friend, you can choose to speak to her at a time when she may be able to hear you better. That would not be in the club. Pick a time when she is sober. Ask her how she is doing and how she has been spending her time. Ask her how her most recent checkup went with the doctor. Probe a bit more and ask her if she has told her doctor that she smokes and drinks. This can easily spark an argument, so tread lightly. But tell her that you are very concerned about her baby's health. Ask her to consider stopping these bad habits -- at least until the baby is born.
Further, you can decide not to hang out with her when she is smoking and drinking. By choosing not to be in her company when she does these things, you are making it clear that you do not condone the behavior. It has been proven that smoking and drinking alcohol can cause birth defects, low birth weight, premature delivery and more. Show your friend reports on the effects of smoking and drinking on a growing baby. Here's one source: marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/alcohol-during-pregnancy.aspx.