Does Alcohol During Pregnancy Cause Problems For My Baby?

Alcohol during pregnancy. To drink or not to drink? That is the question so many mothers ask me. What happens if I just have an occasional drink during pregnancy? Drinking alcohol during pregnancy was in the news again recently. In an English newspaper a top Pediatrician spoke out about one of the major causes of permanent damage to babies in the womb. Professor Terence Stephenson warned that 10,000 babies each year suffer potential fatal harm including brain damage and physical deformity and disability.

He also said that a third of all mom’s smoke during pregnancy which increases the risk of miscarriage, bleeding in pregnancy, birth defects and cot death later on. Smoking and drinking alcohol in pregnancy are avoidable risks. Choose not to drink or smoke from before you conceive and protect your baby from these dangers.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum or Syndrome (FAS) can be caused by mom’s drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

When you drink alcohol, it passes into your bloodstream, then from your blood, through the placenta to your baby. Your baby’s liver doesn’t mature until the second half of pregnancy. Therefore, your baby cannot process alcohol as well as you can. This can lead to a condition or collection of symptoms known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum or Syndrome (FAS).

Is there a safe amount that women can drink while pregnant?

How much alcohol can cause FAS? There is no safe amount; each baby will react differently to your blood alcohol level. There’s no way of knowing which baby will suffer from FAS. So drinking or smoking in pregnancy is like playing Russian roulette.

Apparently there is no cure or treatment for the disabilities of fetal alcohol syndrome which may be caused by drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

Growth deficiency is one of the most common physical defects of FAS. Most infants with FAS have a smaller head, are shorter than average and have low birth weight. They typically have low nasal bridges, narrow eyes, and a thin upper lip. The majority of FAS babies also have heart and joint abnormalities.

If you had a few drinks before you realised that you were pregnant please don't worry or feel guilty! It's not worth it. Just make the change in your habits once you know that you've conceived and stay healthy for the rest of your pregnancy.

Whatever you take into your body while you’re pregnant affects your unborn baby. If you drink alcohol it can have detrimental affects on your baby's growth. Your baby may have physical and behavioural problems that can last a lifetime. Here's a list of possible consequences due to drinking alcohol during pregnancy:

• Low birthweight

• Problems eating and sleeping

• Eyesight problems

• Hearing problems

• Learning difficulties

• Attention deficit syndrome

• Anti-social behaviour with others

• May need to attend a special school

Alternative Drinks:

Just because you're avoiding alcohol doesn't mean you're missing out on all the fun!!

Use a wine glass and make up some nice fruit punch (alcohol-free) and other sparkling drinks so that you feel in the party mood.

Try cranberry juice or red grape juice with sparkling fizzy water.

Or any other favorite fruit juices with carbonated water. No one will know that you are alcohol free unless you want them to know.

Try to avoid places or people who smoke if you can. Most people are understanding if you ask them to go outside to smoke, if they know you're pregnant.

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Make the right choice. Avoid alcohol during pregnancy.