Alcohol during pregnancy
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Alcohol: Effects On You & Your Baby During Pregnancy

 

Alcohol’s adverse effects on fetal development are well known and pregnant women should be kept away from it. The interaction of alcohol with a pregnant woman and her child is important to understand so that its use can be completely reduced or avoided during pregnancy.

 

How Does Drinking Alcohol Affect The Health Of Your Baby During Pregnancy?

 

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy at any time can cause your baby’s serious health problems. Alcohol includes wine, wine refrigerators, beer, and liquor. The alcohol in your blood passes quickly through the placenta and the umbilical cord to your baby when you drink alcohol during pregnancy.

The placenta grows in your uterus (womb) and provides the baby through the umbilical cord with food and oxygen. Drinking any amount of alcohol during pregnancy at any time can harm the brain and other organs that develop your baby. No amount of alcohol during pregnancy has been proven safe at any time.

There is no safe time during pregnancy to drink alcohol. During pregnancy, alcohol can cause problems for your baby, even before you know you’re pregnant. You may be pregnant and for 4 to 6 weeks you don’t know.

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy increases the chances of having these problems for your baby:

Premature Birth:

This is when before 37 weeks of pregnancy your baby is born. At birth and later in life, premature babies may have serious health problems.

Birth Defects:

Such as heart defects, problems with hearing or problems with vision. Birth defects are birth-related health conditions.  It changes one or more parts of the body’s shape or function. In general, health, how the body develops, or how the body works, they can cause problems.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (also known as FASDs):

Children with FASDs may have a range of problems, including disabilities in intellectual and development. These are problems with how the brain functions, which can lead to difficulties in learning, communicating, caring or getting along. They may also have problems or delays in physical development. Usually, FASDs last a lifetime. During pregnancy, binge drinking increases your chances of having an FASD baby. Drinking binge in 2 to 3 hours is when you drink four or more drinks.

Low Birth Weight (also known as LBW).

A baby weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces, is born this way.

 Miscarriage.

This is when before 20 weeks of pregnancy a baby dies in the womb.

Still Birth.

After 20 weeks of pregnancy, a baby dies in the womb.

 

How Can You Protect Your Baby During Pregnancy From Alcohol?

 

If during pregnancy you do not drink alcohol, your baby can not have alcohol-induced FASDs or any other health problems. Do not drink alcohol if you are pregnant or even thinking about getting pregnant. During pregnancy, some women may drink alcohol and have babies that seem healthy.

During pregnancy, some women may have very little alcohol and babies with severe health conditions. Each pregnancy is different. Alcohol can do more harm to one child than to another. Do not drink alcohol when you are pregnant is the best way to keep your baby safe from problems caused by alcohol during pregnancy.

If you are pregnant, if you try to get pregnant, or if you think you may be pregnant, do not drink alcohol. Receive regular prenatal care (medical care you receive during pregnancy) when you become pregnant. If you need help to stop drinking alcohol, tell your health care provider.

 

How Can You Stop Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy?

 

Maybe during pregnancy, you want to drink alcohol. Such as parties and sporting events, alcohol is often included in social activities. You may have dinner or end a busy day with a glass of wine. Alcohol can be difficult to give up during pregnancy.

Here are some measures to help you stop drinking alcohol:

  • Plan to drink other things like fruity drinks or water. Use a fun straw or put an umbrella in the glass to make it look more fun.
  • Stay away from situations or places where you usually drink, like parties or bars. 
  • Get rid of your home’s alcohol.
  • Say to your partner and friends and family that during pregnancy you are not drinking alcohol.   
  • Ask them to support you and help you.

 

Can I Drink Non-Alcoholic Beer and Wine When Pregnant?

 

In drinks like wine and beer, the term non-alcoholic may be misleading. These drinks do contain small amounts of alcohol, typically half-a-percent or so, whereas regular alcoholic beverages contain more than 5-8 percent alcohol. The smaller percentages in these drinks can accumulate when consumed in higher volumes, thus avoiding any form of heavy drinking even of a non-alcoholic drink if you intend to abstain completely from alcohol. Alcohol-free labeled drinks are relatively safer and contain no alcohol.

 Inability to stop alcohol consumption is a sign of substance dependence. It is characterized by a regular desire for alcohol, a need for alcohol to cope with life in general, and isolated drinking. This is a dangerous condition when you’re pregnant and must be addressed immediately. It must be sought as soon as possible to discuss it with your health care provider and subsequent rehabilitation.

 

Also Read: Smoking: Effects On You & Your Baby During Pregnancy