Is It Safe To Drink Alcohol During Pregnancy?

alcohol during pregnancy

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Alcohol is never a great option. During pregnancy, alcohol is no negotiation. Consuming even the slight amount of alcohol is considered to be dangerous for your growing baby. Most health bodies around the world advise both – women who are trying to conceive and women who are pregnant – to stay away from alcohol for the very reason.

Consumption of alcohol based drinks and food stuff directly impacts the healthy growth of your baby. It is important to understand that there are more risks and zero benefits associated with alcohol during pregnancy. Women who have been alcoholics in the past should make a strong attempt to end the addiction before they try to even plan a family.

Effects Of Alcohol During Pregnancy On Your Baby:

Alcohol travels fast through the bloodstream of the mother and crosses the placenta. It then reaches the growing fetus that has little ability to break it down. This in turn leads the baby to carry higher levels of blood alcohol than the mother!

Sounds scary! Isn’t it?

Now if you thought that was scary, here are other dangerous after effects of consuming alcohol in pregnancy, on growing baby:

  • A possible miscarriage.
  • Still birth
  • Low birth weight (sometimes even lower than the set limit, calling for post natal care).
  • Cognitive and motor sensory defects in the baby post birth (problems with speech, hearing, learning, language, hyperactivity etc.).
  • Aggressive and delinquent behavior in the baby later on.
  • Mental and health related problems.
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) – Range of issues with alcohol exposure before birth.
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) – Poor growth in the womb, abnormal facial features post birth, poor or no development of central nervous system.
  • Babies born with small head, small heart, spine and other physical defects.
  • Mental retardation post birth due to poor cognitive development
  • Vision and hearing defects.

[ Read : Fetal Alcohol Syndrome ]

Experts say that there is no minimal threshold for consumption of alcohol during pregnancy, as there are chances that women who drink lesser amounts can also face the threat of delivering abnormal babies with poor mental abilities.

Measures To Cope With Alcohol Addiction:

If you are not a confirmed alcoholic and only drink socially, it is easy to take precautions and willfully stay away from alcohol. However if you are a binge drinker, it is important to first get help in making few lifestyle changes during pregnancy.

Here are few measures to cope with alcohol addiction:

  • Take the help of a therapist who will put you under detailed counseling and therapy to cope with the addiction.
  • It is highly recommended by doctors that you, as an alcohol addict, first seek therapeutic help even before you plan to conceive. As this makes it all the more easy once you are ready to get pregnant and have a baby.
  • There are various programs now available in reputed health care facilities to address the growing problem of alcohol addiction in women.

[ Read : Smoking During Pregnancy ]

Replacing Alcoholic Drinks With Non-Alcoholic Options:

The market is now flooded with a plethora of non-alcoholic drinks that are a great replacement to alcohol. You can indulge in few of these in case you are unable to shake the addiction off completely.

However, it is strongly advisable to check the ingredients of these drinks to rule out compositions like caffeine which also are harmful for your growing baby.

[ Read : Is It Safe To Drink Apple Cider Vinegar During Pregnancy ]

If You Had Few Drinks Before You Knew You Were Pregnant:

In case you have accidentally sipped in few drinks before you knew you were pregnant, there is no need to panic. There are chances that nothing really has impacted your fetus yet. It is important to take utmost precautions thereafter and ensure that there is no alcohol anywhere in your food chain for the coming months and the nursing years.

Understanding the level of alcohol addiction may sound overrated, but it becomes vital for the well being of your baby. Do not feel embarrassed to discuss your condition either with your doctor or your loved ones while you are pregnant. They are around to help and advice better. Be mindful of the fact that this is your baby, and that alcohol can wait.

[ Read : Steroids During Pregnancy ]

Now that you know alcohol isn’t safe, you must say a complete “NO” to this. Be Safe. Enjoy Your Pregnancy! What say?

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Deepa Balasubramanian