Alcohol and Pregnancy

 

Bringing a child into the world puts a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. You are literally responsible for another life from the moment of conception in the simplest and most direct way possible: whatever you take into your body reaches your baby too.

Whatever you eat, your baby does as well. So drinking a glass of wine or that bottle of beer means that baby is also consuming alcohol. Food and drink that you take in also reaches your baby through your bloodstream.

alcoholandpregnancyAlthough there hasn’t been conclusive evidence on the effects of light to moderate drinking during pregnancy, there have been substantive dire effects of heavy alcohol drinking during pregnancy on the baby. The effects range from physical deformities, brain defects and damage to the baby’s nervous system. The effect due to alcohol consumption is known as FASD or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome disorder which accounts for the spectrum of disorders and birth defects which result from the mother’s alcohol intake during pregnancy. Studies show that about 40,000 babies are born every year with FASD in the United States alone.

Doctor’s Advice

And so what is the doctor’s advice? The medical field’s default stance on what is safe when it comes to alcohol consumption during pregnancy is no alcohol at all. If a woman is pregnant or planning to get pregnant, then she should decide to hold off from drinking for a while. One is not able to tell exactly when conception begins and so it is best to err on the side of caution and lay off the booze altogether when one wants to get pregnant. This is especially important because the first trimester is the most crucial period in your baby’s development.

 

Why Alcohol Consumption During Pregnancy Is Bad

Alcohol is a toxin and a substance that lessens the cells capacity to carry oxygen. Therefore, when mother drinks, the baby’s capacity to get oxygen and nutrition becomes limited. Alcohol consumption in the mother renders the baby’s organs to become underdeveloped, specially the brain and the nervous system.

What Can Happen When You Consume Alcohol During Pregnancy

According to a Danish study in 2008 published in the March of Dimes, women who heavily drank (about 3 drinks a week) during the first 16 weeks of the pregnancy had a 56% increase in the their risk for stillbirths. Whereas, another study published from the same source, showed that women who drank 5 drinks a week or more during the same time period had a 70% risk for stillbirths.

Aside from the physical and mental deformities and defects and on top of the risk for stillbirths, children born of mothers who drink during pregnancy may also have greater learning, emotional and behavioral problems. They also tend to be smaller and have greater difficulty in “catching up” with their age counterparts.

Also, drinking alcohol increases the risk for both miscarriage and premature births with smaller and low birth weight babies.
Clearly, alcohol consumption and pregnancy do not mix. If you are pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant, the best advice is to stop drinking all alcoholic beverages. The best gift you can give your baby is the gift of health.