Drinking During Pregnancy

Drinking during pregnancy is entirely not recommended as alcohol can cause not only a wide range of mental and physical birth defects in the baby but also lots of health issues in the future mother. Exposure to alcohol during pregnancy before birth leads to so called fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, affecting up to 40,000 babies annually.

According to a recent survey, 1 out of 12 pregnant women drinks a glass of alcohol – beer, wine, liquor or wine coolers – weekly, while 1 in 30 moms-to-be has five or more drinks in a row whenever a special occasion occurs. Surprising or not, these data reveal a very worrying truth: an incredibly high number of pregnant women put their babies’ health at serious risk out of negligence or misinformation.

Why drinking during pregnancy is a no-no

Drinking during pregnancy endangers the growing baby in different ways: first, it increases the risk of pregnancy miscarriage especially in women who are in their first trimester. Then, alcohol consumption during the gestational period is linked with severe brain damage in the baby, so unless you want your little one to have serious speaking, learning, reading and attention problems you should stop drinking immediately after finding out you’re pregnant.

Whenever you drink, alcohol passes from your bloodstream, through placenta, directly into your baby’s developing body. While this may not cause you any unpleasant pregnancy symptom, your baby’s organism is not yet ready to breakdown sugars and to metabolize the other compounds in beverages, so he’ll most probably end up with lots of alcohol in his circulatory system.

This undesirable situation causes severe damage not only to the central nervous system of your developing baby but also on their heart and spine, babies exposed to high amounts of alcohol during their intrauterine life being born with hearing and vision problems, small heads and incompletely developed brains. Also, these babies usually show behavioral problems and mental disabilities as they grow older.

The facial features of these kids are also affected by drinking during pregnancy: their eyes are small, their upper lip is very thin and the groove between nose and the upper lip is replaced with smooth skin. And the bad news is although these physical defects may not matter so much later in life, mental disorders and behavior problems caused by alcohol consumption can’t be completely healed regardless of the applied treatment.

According to a recent study taken on kids with FASDs (fetal alcohol spectrum disorders), a protective environment and a healthy family relationship in the first 7 years of life can minimize the symptoms of these disorders, leading to a normal behavior. However, concentration and attention problems as well as learning difficulties can still be present even in kids benefiting from excellent care and complex therapies.

Moreover, health problems are also experienced by infants whose moms drink small amounts of alcohol while breastfeeding, as compounds from alcoholic beverages get into breast milk, reaching inside the baby’s digestive system and from their into his bloodstream. These children are often slower in developing motor skills than healthy ones so this is another reason drinking during pregnancy or immediately postpartum is completely contraindicated.

If you’re curious to learn more about the effects of drinking during pregnancy has on babies and see what other manifestations could harm the baby’s growth inside your womb, make sure to read our other interesting articles on the pregnancy months, pregnancy week by week, baby growth during pregnancy,Early Pregnancy Signs,Weight gain during pregnancy , pregnancy miscarriage and diet during pregnancy.