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Can you drink Alcohol while Pregnant?

Can you drink Alcohol while Pregnant?

by: Dr. Monika Chaudhary
Attending Consultant, Gynecology

It is not at all safe to take alcohol while you are pregnant.  Alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix. There is no way to know how much alcohol is safe during pregnancy. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy could pose a long-term risk to your developing baby, and the more you drink, the higher are the risks. In first trimester you have to strictly avoid alcohol in order to avoid miscarriage. Drinking at this time has also been associated with a higher rate of premature birth. It’s safest not to drink alcohol at all during pregnancy. However, if you do decide to drink while you’re pregnant, limit it to one or two units of alcohol, no more than once or twice a week, and never enough to get drunk.

No one knows exactly what potential harmful effects even the smallest amount of alcohol can have on a developing baby. However a mild amount doesn’t harm very much, but to be on the safer side one should never have it.

Effects of alcohol on your pregnancy and fetus:

  • Alcohol can pass to your fetus: When you drink, the alcohol quickly travels through your bloodstream, crosses the placenta, and reaches your baby. Your baby breaks down alcohol more slowly than you do, so she may end up with a higher level of blood alcohol.
  • Drinking endangers your growing baby in a number of ways: It increases the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. As little as one drink a day can raise the odds of miscarrying or having a baby with a low birth weight, and raise your child’s risk of problems with learning, speech, attention span, language, and hyperactivity.
  • Behavioral issues: Expectant moms who have as little as one drink a week are more likely than nondrinkers to have children who later exhibit aggressive and delinquent behavior. Also, girls whose mothers drank during pregnancy are more likely to have mental health problems.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) is the term experts use to describe the range of problems related to alcohol exposure before birth. The most severe result of alcohol use is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a lifelong condition characterized by poor growth (in the womb, after birth, or both), abnormal facial features, heart defects, and damage to the central nervous system.

 

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