Alcohol and Pregnancy

Some friends and relatives might say that casual drinking while pregnant was normal in their day or that one drink won't do any harm. Are your friends and relatives right? Can drinking while pregnant be safe?

The answer is a clear NO.

When you drink, the alcohol travels through your blood, passes through the placenta and reaches your baby through the umbilical cord.
In other words, your baby is drinking right along with you.

How much alcohol is too much?

  • No amount of alcohol while pregnant has been proven safe
  • There is no time while pregnant when it is okay to drink

Did I harm my baby if I had a glass of wine or two before learning I was pregnant?

  • Likely, no, if you're talking about light drinking
  • The sooner you stop drinking the better
  • Many of your baby's vital organs begin to grow during the early weeks
  • The best thing you can do to help your baby be healthy is to stop drinking right away

What are the risks of drinking while pregnant?

  • Every year, up to 40,000 babies are born with some kind of alcohol-linked health problem
  • If you drink, your baby could get fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), which causes great and lasting harm to the brain

Is light drinking really that bad for my baby?

  • Even social drinking can be harmful
  • Studies show that even less than one drink a week raises your baby's chance of behavior problems, including aggressiveness
  • Other research has shown that even controlled drinking may lead to a higher chance of attention deficit disorder (ADD), hyperactivity, learning disorders and mood disorders

What if I am used to having a nightly drink?

  • You will have to make an effort to change your habits
  • If you count on a glass of wine or a cocktail to help you unwind, you might think about other ways to relax like prenatal yoga or going on a daily walk
  • Try replacing your normal drink with a virgin cocktail

What should I do if I cannot stop drinking?

If you find that you cannot stop drinking, or if you try and fail over and over again, talk to your doctor right away

What about drinking while nursing?

  • Both the Office of the Surgeon General and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggest that nursing mothers - along with pregnant women and those trying to get pregnant - do not drink at all
  • The AAP says that not only does alcohol become concentrated in breast milk, it also stops your body from making milk

[references] Copyright © 2010 LimeHealth

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