Can I Drink During Pregnancy?

Drinking alcohol while pregnant could endanger your growing foetus in a number of ways. It might seem like a one-off thing that you are used to doing on weekends, but it’s essential that you give up on that one can of beer as soon as you realise that you have conceived. What are the possible effects of drinking alcohol in pregnancy? Read here to know what you might be exposing your baby unconsciously:

How Alcohol Could Harm Your Baby?

The American Academy of Paediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists strongly recommend staying always from alcohol for the entire term of pregnancy because of the research backed risks that it could pose for your baby. Alcohol travels quickly through your bloodstream to reach the placenta and then your baby, who, unfortunately, breaks down the alcohol quite slowly which means that the level of alcohol in their bloodstream is higher than that of yours.

You are thus, not only increasing your chances of having a miscarriage or a still birth1, but are also exposing your baby to risks like low birth weight, developmental delays like delayed speech, lower attention span and enhanced probability of developing ADHD or other behavioral disorders. Studies have also found a link between maternal consumption of alcohol and aggressive tendencies in children in their growing years.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

To describe the range of problems that can arise if the fetus is exposed to alcohol before birth, the term Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is used by physicians. From the much-dreaded fetal alcohol syndrome, poor growth in the womb and after birth, facial malformations and potential damages to the nervous system, with intellectual disabilities and anatomical defects; all fall under this spectrum and because of the unpredictability of the severity of effects, it is absolutely essential that you steer clear of alcohol throughout pregnancy.

You need not binge drink to risk your baby’s exposure to these malformations. Even if you are drinking in lesser quantities, you are still increasing the chances of your baby having partial symptoms of FAS.

What You Could Do To Help Yourself

Give up drinking entirely to keep yourself and your baby safe and sound through the pregnancy but if you find it impossible to stay away from alcohol, you might need help at both personal and professional levels. Here is a list of what you could do:

  • Let your doctor/midwife know about your addiction and seek help as soon as possible.
  • You will find the local substance abuse treatment facility with a little guidance from your health practitioner. You can either choose to reach out to them on their website or visit them for a better understanding of your issues.
  • Always keep your partner and your immediate family members informed so that they know how to help you in case an emergency arises.
  • There are non-alcoholic drinks like sparkling juices, non-alcoholic beers that can help curb your urges, although, you should always check the label to know the ingredients.

There is no substitute for good health during pregnancy. Letting go of your drinks will significantly reduce the chances of risks to your precious baby. Make the most of this opportunity!

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stillbirth