Alcohol During Pregnancy: Risks and Side Effects on Baby
Alcohol consumption in pregnancy is not something we want to bet on. The risks are more, damaging not just your growth, but also the growth of your baby in the embryo. There are a lot of potential risks you may not be aware of. Here are some things you need to know about alcohol and pregnancy.
For years researchers have spent rolls of paper trying to figure out whether or not drinking during pregnancy is harmful (1). It has then been concluded that going overboard with your alcohol while you are expecting is indeed harmful. In fact, a little amount of alcohol is enough to cause damage and birth defect to the fetus.
Is Taking Alcohol During Pregnancy Considered Safe?
No! a strong no! Dangers of alcohol during pregnancy are multifold. Fetal alcohol syndrome is a common thing for all pregnant mothers who consume alcohol. Alcohol has the potential to pass into the placenta and thereby into the bloodstream of the baby. If you still decide to drink when you are pregnant, then it is not advisable to drink more than one or two units.
See More: Smoking during pregnancy and its effects
Side-Effects of Drinking Alcohol While Pregnant:
If you are thinking, it is completely all right to give into drinking occasionally, but only occasionally. Occasional drinking at parties and other social gatherings is not very likely to affect your baby in a negative or adverse way. In case you are expecting and wondering about the effects of alcohol during pregnancy, here is a warning.
1. The liver is one of the last organs to develop in your baby, hence when you have alcohol, like any other nutrient that goes into your body, the alcohol also invariably reaches your child and because of the absence of a liver or because of possession of a very small liver, the baby’s body cannot process alcohol as well as you can. This negatively affects the growth of the baby. Too much of drinking or heavy drinking of alcohol during pregnancy is detrimental to your baby. If a mother indulges in heavy drinking, her child is likely to possess the effects of alcohol even after he or she is born and these effects can be lifelong.
2. Disorders in Babies if Mother Drinks Alcohol when Pregnant:
The main disorders in babies whose mothers consume alcohol during pregnancy are poor growth, behavioural problems, facial abnormality and learning disability in the child. Drinking alcohol while pregnant can also lead to some more serious disorders like lifelong sight problems, hearing difficulties, sleep problem, speech delays, low birthweight in your child. In some cases, doctors have also found that effects of drinking alcohol during pregnancy leads to miscarriage, premature birth or the birth of a stillborn child.
3. Brain Damage and Still Birth:
Brain damage and stillbirth are the other side effects of alcohol in early pregnancy. The baby does not grow in the uterus or may even lose its life.
4. Birth Defects:
Birth defects like vision problems, hearing problems etc. are the possible defects the baby might develop. Remember, the defects are long term.
If you are still thinking about drinking alcohol while pregnant, our word of caution for you would be to indulge in occasional drinks and keep the quantity in mind. Do not get wasted and keep in mind how much it affects your body. Alcohol is a toxic substance for the baby, because of the lack of proper organs to break down the alcohol, the developing baby tends to have a strong concentration of alcohol in their blood if the mother drinks because this drink will pass down to the baby. There are instances where ladies have indulged heavily in drinking while expecting yet have given birth to perfectly fine babies with no defects while others who barely had a drink or two had some disorders in their babies so it is best to be cautious. Every birth is different, every mother-to-be is different and so is her body.
Studies have shown that even a glass or two of any drink, be it wine, beer, vodka, rum will invariably affect your baby. While you see your friends drink, keep in mind that their body can take it. You cannot, perhaps. If you happen to be a regular drinker the best thing to do is stop consumption of alcohol once you find out that you are pregnant. That way, you can keep diseases at bay and give birth to a healthy, happy child.
Effects of Taking Alcohol During Pregnancy:
As we said, we believe in no alcohol during pregnancy. Nonetheless, if you do so, here are some of the effects that you will see in your baby.
A. Facial Features: The baby may have distinctive facial features. It can have a small head, with a flat face and sometimes narrow eye openings.
B. Growth Problems: Growth problems will stem up with age. Children whose mothers drank alcohol during pregnancy will tend to be smaller than the others of their age.
C. Learning and behaviour problems also will surface with time.
D. Birth defects and problems bonding with your newborn, along with feeding issues have also been observed.
Ways to Stop Taking Alcohol During Pregnancy:
- The first way is to fully understand that it is extremely harmful for you and the baby. Knowing this, try to distract yourself by doing things that demand your total attention. Keeping yourself distracted is the whole possible way.
- Understand your alcohol craving time. Once you know this, try to take a walk or try not to be around the place. Do things that will ensure you are far away from alcohol accessibility.
- Talk to your doctor for more remedies.
While this quitting can sure be tough, self-control is the first thing you need to practice. With that, things will fall in place.
How Does Alcohol Pass to The Baby in The Womb?
Alcohol will pass from the blood of the mother to the baby’s blood. It enters the baby through the placenta, that connects the mother and the baby. The placenta is ideally for feeding the baby with the nutritious food it requires for its growth.
Can you Drink Alcohol when Pregnant?
The answer to a question like can you drink alcohol while pregnant is fairly easy. Yes, of course, you can. However, SHOULD you drink alcohol while pregnant, is very subjective. In my opinion, you should not. Not consuming alcohol for nine whole months will only do good for your body. If however, you still want to indulge in drinking, be it occasional or heavy, it is best that you are well informed about the repercussions of your deeds. It greatly helps to talk to your doctor and debunk those myths and get to the truth of the matter. Seek your doctor’s opinion in this regard and make sure you know what you are doing because whether or not your drink will affect your child greatly.
Ask your doctor what is best for you and stick to a healthy diet plan. If you are a regular party-goer who indulges in alcohol during such occasions try and avoid such social gatherings because the alcohol will not become any less toxic because it is your best friend’s birthday or your sister’s wedding. Try and indulge in some other activities that will relax you and your child. You could go for spas or read books or even listen to good music. You could also cook up something healthy for you and your child.
See More: Wine during pregnancy
By warning women to not have alcohol when pregnant, or to reduce their consumption of such drinks that may prove to be harmful to the child, in the long run, is beneficial. People warn because they wish the best for the mother and child. Doctors will always choose a healthy baby over a mother’s party life and hence advise their patients to abstain from alcoholic beverages to eliminate the possibilities, in fact, the rarest possibilities of the child being born with irreparable damage.
A lot of pain and regret can be avoided if you keep alcohol away for nine months and until you stop nursing your baby. It is only about some control that can help you in the process. When you know you are pregnant, keep the home free of alcohol bottles or even the smell of it. That will essentially be your first step to quitting.