Alcohol and Pregnancy

Most physicians agree, there is always a risk associated with ingesting any amount of alcohol during pregnancy. There will be a few here and there that believe that a drink every now and then during pregnancy will most likely not harm the fetus, but the simple fact is that no amount has ever been proven to be safe. The healthcare field has long associated alcohol and pregnancy as a harmful mixture and asserts that pregnant women ought to abstain from drinking during pregnancy.

Jacques Moritz, MD, gynecology director at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York, states, ““The problem with drinking alcohol during your pregnancy is that there is no amount that has been proven to be safe.” This is the key reason why most doctors recommend complete abstinence.

How can alcohol harm your baby?

When you drink, your baby drinks. The alcohol, and associated toxins, that goes into your bloodstream when you drink passes through the placenta and enters your baby’s bloodstream. As fetuses are not developed enough to process alcohol, any amount can pose a serious risk.

Short of death, the worst health condition that your baby could develop is called fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and this syndrome can bring about great mental and physical abnormalities. Not every pregnant mother who drinks delivers a baby with FAS, but the chances increase significantly if they do.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can affect your baby in many ways, including:

  • Birth defects in the brain, heart, kidney, bones, and other various organs
  • The baby to be born premature
  • Very low birth weight
  • Learning problems
  • Behavioral problems
  • Trouble seeing and hearing
  • Slower intellectual development (low IQ)
  • Speech delays
  • Smaller head size
  • Abnormal features on the face
  • Lack of coordination
  • Attention problems

Statistics

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) in 2011 and 2012, about 8.5% of pregnant women aged 15 to 44 reported to having drank alcohol within the past 30 days. Additionally, 2.7% reported binge drinking. The percentage of women who were not pregnant and admitted to drinking in the past month was 55.5%, with 24.7% binge drinking. This does show that pregnant women are getting the message that alcohol during pregnancy puts the baby at risk.

When is alcohol dangerous?

Alcohol is dangerous throughout the entire pregnancy. Some women might think that once they get to six plus months that the baby is already formed so the alcohol won’t really affect the baby, but that is not true. Health experts state that drinking during the first three months can cause the baby to experience abnormal facial features and central nervous system problems.  The baby continues to grow after that three month period and the alcohol can still affect the developing brain and other organs.

Where can you get help?

 If you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant and have a drinking problem, it is important that you get help as soon as possible. If you’ve tried to quit drinking on your own and failed to do so, perhaps it is time to reach out or some help from qualified substance abuse professionals. There are alcohol detox and rehabs available that are designed to assist you in getting sober and helping you to acquire the skills necessary to stay sober. You will have the opportunity to discuss alcoholism and any issues that you are experiencing with a qualified counselor and together plan a treatment regimen.

No mother wants to bring harm to her baby and knowing that alcohol can do such, it is important to stay sober throughout your pregnancy.

If you are struggling, make a call today to get some help for yourself and your baby.

 

Image: Flickr

Pat Moore Foundation teams up with D’Amore Healthcare. D'Amore Healthcare specializes in treating mental health and behavioral illness along with the wide variety of addictions such as alcoholism, opiate addiction, cocaine addiction, crystal meth addiction, and prescription drug abuse.

Our caring, qualified staff is here for you. If you have any questions regarding help for yourself or a loved one please contact our us anytime 24 hours a day at 714.375.1110 or fill out the contact form.

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