The Dangers of Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy

There is no amount of alcohol a pregnant woman could consume without it affecting her unborn child. Expectant mothers are often unaware of the dangers that exist. Even if a woman drinks in the early stages of her pregnancy before she finds out that she's pregnant the risk is still severe.

 

Doctors around the world tell women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant to stop drinking altogether. Admittedly, this is the wisest advice one could offer a woman in such a situation. The types of risks that come with drinking even the slightest bit of alcohol during this time can lead to some horrible and often irreversible effects on the child.

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How Does Alcohol Reach The Baby?

 

When a woman drinks alcohol, it enters her stomach and then it is absorbed into the bloodstream. From the blood, the alcohol passes through the umbilical cord which feeds directly to the baby.

 

It has been proven that a much higher risk of health issues are created when the mother consumes more alcohol. Although many adults drink alcohol for recreational purposes, it can seriously damage the brain and body of a child in the womb.

 

What Are The Consequences Of Drinking Alcohol While Pregnant?

 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Protection, alcohol use in pregnancy is extremely perilous and can cause a wide array of issues for the baby. It can even cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and other horrible psychological and physical symptoms that can last for the rest of the child's life. Miscarriage and stillbirth can be extremely painful (both physically and emotionally) for the mother.

 

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

 

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) are some of the most heartbreaking and preventable consequences of drinking while pregnant. When a baby is born with an FASD, there is a wide array of visible manifestations it can cause. Some include:

 

  • Seizures
  • Learning disabilities
  • Congenital disabilities
  • Vision or hearing issues
  • A small head
  • Low birthweight
  • A low IQ
  • Heart problems
  • Hyperactivity
  • Odd facial features
  • Being unable to pay attention

 

Tips To Quit Drinking Before You Become Pregnant

 

Sometimes, it can be difficult to push past the social norm of having a few drinks here and there. Drinking is used as an icebreaker, a coping mechanism, a pastime, and many other things for a large population around the world.

 

Social events or get-togethers with friends may feel a bit more awkward when you're the only one without a glass in hand. For example, perhaps part of your tradition with your husband is to go out to dinner every Friday and have a glass of wine or two with him. It may be hard for you to tweak this tradition a little bit. However, once it's done once or twice, you will find that you're able to push past the social pressures to drink. Eventually, you may even find that you prefer to do the things you used to do with alcohol, without it!

The danger of an alcoholic pregnancy

We suggest that, if you are in a situation that you would typically have a drink in, perhaps substitute it with something else. Find your most delicious non-alcoholic cocktail or "mocktail" and keep it in hand. That way, people may ask you less if you want something to drink, but it also might put a bit more familiarity into the situation for you. As humans, our habits are powerful, merely holding something in your hand other than an alcoholic drink can be comforting. There are plenty of non-alcoholic alternatives for women to order at bars when they don't want to drink.

 

Perhaps your partner, family, or friends would also be willing to join you in not drinking. Having social support that is willing to give up alcohol with you can be some of the best support you could receive.

 

When You Can’t Stop Drinking

 

If you can't stop drinking, it's best to attend a support group such as Alcohol's Anonymous or visiting a rehabilitation center for drug and alcohol abuse. Take every precaution not to become pregnant while struggling with alcoholism or alcohol abuse. 

 

Alcoholism is a disease. When it comes to the health of your unborn child, no precaution is too extreme to prevent unnecessary health issues.

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Countless studies have shown that consuming alcohol can cause incredible harm to an unborn child throughout the mother’s pregnancy. A common side effect of drinking during a pregnancy is fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) which can affect the child physically, as well as cause many behavioral issues and difficulty with learning. No child deserves to suffer because of an easily preventable choice that their parents have made. Be sure to educate whomever you are able - friends, family, and loved ones, especially - about the risks of drinking while pregnant.