Dec. 8, 2010 — -- Inside McLoone's seaside restaurant, customers were enjoying a bite and a drink. But one woman at the bar seemed to be enjoying a few too many: She ordered shot after shot of hard liquor.
"Down the hatch!" she said as she downed a glass of tequila.
The woman looked about nine months pregnant, as if she were about to give birth at any moment. But she was really an actress, not pregnant, and was drinking juice or water, not real alcohol. The bar was rigged with hidden cameras.
Many studies show that drinking alcohol while pregnant can cause a baby to develop fetal alcohol syndrome and conditions collectively referred to as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Problems include distinct facial features and mental retardation, joint deformities and heart defects. The damage is permanent.
While some doctors say an occasional glass of wine after the first trimester may be okay, the Surgeon General warns there is no known safe amount of alcohol to drink while pregnant. According to government surveys, about 13 percent of women do drink during pregnancy and about 40,000 babies are born with some degree of alcohol related damage each year.
The actor playing a pregnant drinker toasted the patrons at the bar with her next drink, a glass of red wine. When her drink of choice was wine, most people did not raise an eyebrow.
One woman who witnessed the experiment told us, "My doctor actually told me when I was very late in my first pregnancy, go home, relax, have a glass of wine."
Other patrons drank along with the wine drinking, pregnant looking actor.
But what if she started to down shots of hard alcohol, would anyone say anything?
One woman who sat and drank with the actor told her she thought it was a personal choice and that she did not judge her actions.
Some looked to the bartender , who was also an actor, to intervene. One man told our actor-bartender "You've got a tough job and she's pounding that vodka like a sailor." He then said he was biting his lips to not say something to her.
'Who Does That?'
But he, like so many other people, did not know what to do.
Another male patron sitting at the bar also approached the bartenders.
"She's slamming shots down, like who does that? Who does that?" he asked.
He later told us, "I think that a lot of people felt very awkward. You know you can't tell people how to live."
"Most of us don't want to rock the social boat," said social psychologist Carrie Keating said. "And I think also when a woman is pregnant -- that's her baby, that's that bubble around the family, and that family privacy is a value we all have and we don't like to disrupt that."
Will anyone try to break through the family bubble?
Suddenly, a real life pregnant woman walks through the door. There is also a mom with a newborn baby sitting at the bar, and an older mom.
Watch WWYD Friday night at 9 ET to see what happens next.