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Pregnancy and Alcohol - Not a Good Idea!

Pregnancy and Alcohol Don't Mix!

Please remember this -- what you drink baby drinks too!

Women often ask, "What's a safe level of drinking when pregnant?" The answer is there's no safe level. Even one drink per day or one drink per week could be putting your unborn child at risk.

Anything you eat or drink while pregnant is absorbed into the baby's bloodstream through the placenta, try. The affects of alcohol on the developing fetus are many and are mainly caused by the brain and organs being deprived of oxygen. A baby's immature liver has no tolerance for alcohol and takes a long time to break it down.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Once an infant develops fetal alcohol syndrome, it's there for life. there's no cure for FAS and sometimes those affected require lifelong care.

Some of the symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome are:

  • Mental retardation
  • Behavioural problems
  • Poor co-ordination
  • Hyperactivity
  • Smaller body size and weight
  • Eye defects
  • Facial abnormalities
  • Curvature of the spine
  • Kidney and heart problems

These are by no means the only symptoms of FAS, but it serves to give an idea of the potential for damage of even light drinking. Beer and wine and even mixed drinks can do as much harm as spirits.

There is also a higher incidence of stillbirth or miscarriage in mums that consume alcohol.

Even if you only suspect you may be pregnant it's best to stop drinking straight away. If you're planning on starting a family, stop drinking before trying to become pregnant so that your body can clear itself of all alcohol.

What happens if you don't realize you're pregnant and have had a few drinks in the meantime?

Just start from now and make sure no more alcohol passes your lips. The chances are low that you've done any significant damage. It's what you do from now on that will count.

If you think you may find it difficult to stop drinking, the following resources may help

Alcoholics Anonymous
FASD Support Site
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence

There's plenty of time after the birth (unless you're breastfeeding) for a celebration drink! Give your baby the best start in life and avoid the alcohol.


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