Is it OK to Drink While Pregnant?

Is it OK to Drink While Pregnant?

is it OK to drink while pregnant

Risky Behavior: Drinking While Pregnant

If you were to ask any John Q. Public: is it OK to drink while pregnant? Most if not all people would respond with a resounding No! But this wasn’t always the case. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the medical profession began to recognize what was to be called Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). There followed a widespread social awareness of what was to become thought of as a major public health risk.

But has this issue been over-exaggerated? More recently, people have begun to question the issue of whether or not it is safe to drink while pregnant.

A Distinction About Drinking While Pregnant

We are not talking about heavy drinking or binge drinking. For decades, researchers have known that heavy drinking during pregnancy can cause birth defects. But the potential effects of small amounts of alcohol on a developing baby are not well understood.

Although heavy drinking during pregnancy can obviously be harmful, the risks of light and moderate drinking aren’t as clear.

Also, it is known that drinking any amount of alcohol within the first trimester of pregnancy is not safe to do – we’re not talking about binge drinking; what we’re discussing is light or moderate drinking, that is, 1 – 2 drinks in a given day with no more than 2 days in a week where alcohol is consumed and only after the first trimester.

Things to Consider Prior to Drinking While Pregnant

The problem with drinking alcohol during your pregnancy is that there is no amount that has been proven to be safe. Also, other factors must be considered such as individual’s body make-up and chemistry. For example, some women have higher levels of the enzyme that is needed to break down alcohol, therefore, if a pregnant woman with low levels of this enzyme drinks, her baby may be more susceptible to harm because the alcohol will be in her system for a longer period of time.

The Flip-side of the Argument: Ok to Drink While Pregnant

According to a British study, children born to mothers who drank moderately while pregnant did not show signs of balance problems when they were 10; trouble with balance is a good indicator of problems with brain development in utero. And a study conducted in Denmark reported that light to moderate drinking early in pregnancy was not associated with declines in intelligence, attention or self-control in children at age 5.

Trends: Women Choose to Drink While Pregnant

Given the uncertainty of how much is too much and how little is okay, some moms-to-be choose to not drink while pregnant altogether.  But a recent CDC study found that about one in eight pregnant women in the U.S. report that they had a drink while pregnant in the past month. For whatever their reasoning, more and more pregnant women are choosing to drink alcohol.

Possible Benefits to Drink While Pregnant

The relaxing properties of a glass of wine, as well as the health benefits of red wine itself, is what is leading some pregnant women to indulge in a glass here and there. Many of these moms-to-be said that their doctors actually advised them to have a drink, especially late in their third trimester, for the relaxing qualities alcohol has. When weighing the risks of maternal stress to the baby with light to moderate drinking, some doctors are saying a little is OK.

A study asked more than 12,000 new moms if they drank during pregnancy and how much. The study followed the children through their early years in order to assess their behavior. The result was a finding that the children of moms who drank moderately during pregnancy actually had fewer behavior and cognitive problems than the kids of the moms who didn’t drink at all.





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Pregnancy and Alcohol Do Not Mix

Alcohol & Pregnancy

Alcohol & Pregnancy

Everyone knows that pregnancy and alcohol do not mix. Alcohol can cause premature birth, developmental problems, miscarriage, or still birth. Most doctors recommend that you completely abstain from alcohol while pregnant-better safe than sorry.

The true reason that pregnancy and alcohol do not mix is that if you drink alcohol while the fetus is going through certain developmental stages, the alcohol can interfere with the process, causing anything from birth defects to fetal death. There is also no way to know when these developmental processes are occurring. So a drink on a certain day during the pregnancy may have no negative effect, while the same amount of alcohol the next day could be devastating. There is no way to tell, and there is no amount of alcohol that has been proven to be safe.

Pregnancy and alcohol do not mix because drinking alcohol could cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a group of growth, mental, and physical problems that occur when a mother drinks alcohol while pregnant. Alcohol crosses the placental barrier, so that means when you drink, your baby drinks too. It can stunt fetal growth or weight, create distinctive facial defects, damage neurons and brain structures, and cause other physical damage.

Because your baby’s body is not equipped to digest alcohol, when alcohol enters the fetal blood stream, it can have a severe effect on the central nervous system. Developing brain structures are either malformed or development is interrupted by the presence of alcohol. This CNS damage is permanent, and is one of the biggest reasons that pregnancy and alcohol do not mix. Fetal alcohol syndrome is the number one cause of mental retardation in the developed world. Almost none of the babies who have fetal alcohol syndrome have normal brain development. With medical interventions, babies born with neurological defects due to fetal alcohol syndrome can show some improvement.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome also causes distinct facial defects. The presence of these facial defects indicates brain damage, although brain damage can exist even if the facial features are normal. Fetal alcohol syndrome causes narrow eyes, a thin upper lip, and a flattened groove between the nose and upper lip. All of the defects are only present in cases of severe fetal alcohol syndrome.

Experts are agreed that alcohol and pregnancy do not mix, but the amount of alcohol, the frequency of drinking, and the timing have variable effects on the pregnancy. Many women panic when they find out they are pregnant, and they have been drinking in the first few weeks. The best plan of action is to stop drinking immediately when you find out you are pregnant, and not to drink at all if you are trying to get pregnant. Drinking in the very early stages of pregnancy is usually less risky than drinking later on, so if you had a few drinks in the beginning, you are probably ok. Just be sure to stop as soon as you find out.

If you need help with your addiction give us a call now at 1-800-984-4003.