How much alcohol is too much during pregnancy?
The basic question which comes to mind is that how much alcohol is safe in pregnancy. but the thing is alcohol and pregnancy never mix up! You never know even smallest amount of alcohol could have damaging effect on developing baby. All public health officials in the United States recommend that pregnant women, as well as women who are trying to conceive, play it safe by steering clear of alcohol entirely.
What effects could alcohol have on my baby?
When you drink alcohol, it travels through your blood and reach the baby. baby is unable to break down alcohol as fast as you can do so the baby end up with even higher level of alcohol.
Some common problems faced by mothers who take alcohol during pregnancy are
*low birth weight babies
*neurological and motor problems in babies
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
“Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders” (FASD) is the term experts use to describe the range of problems related to alcohol exposure before birth. The most severe result of alcohol use is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a lifelong condition characterized by poor growth (in the womb, after birth, or both), abnormal facial features, and damage to the central nervous system.
Babies with FAS may also have abnormally small heads and brains, as well as heart, spine, and other anatomical defects. The central nervous system damage may include intellectual disability, delays in physical development, vision and hearing problems, and a variety of behavioral problems.
Frequent drinking (seven or more alcoholic drinks per week, including liquor, wine, and beer) or binge drinking (four or more drinks on any one occasion) greatly increases the risk that your baby will suffer from FAS. Even babies whose mothers drink less can also develop this syndrome. Babies exposed to alcohol before birth – even if they don’t have the full spectrum of FAS – may still be born with some of these birth defects or later exhibit a number of mental, physical, or behavioral problems.
What about “nonalcoholic” beer and wine?
The term “nonalcoholic” is a bit misleading when it comes to the supposedly alcohol-free versions of beer and wine. In fact, all “nonalcoholic” beers and many “nonalcoholic” wines do contain some alcohol, typically less than half a percent.
Drinks labeled “nonalcoholic” can contain trace amounts of alcohol, while those labeled “alcohol-free” can’t. However, researchers have found that some drinks contain greater amounts of alcohol than claimed on their labels – even some labeled “alcohol-free.”
While few would say that the trace amount of alcohol in an occasional glass of “nonalcoholic” beer is going to harm your baby, it’s something to be aware of – especially if you drink these beverages often or in large amounts. So before you drink up, read labels carefully and remember that “nonalcoholic” and “alcohol-free” aren’t interchangeable terms.
What if I had a few drinks before I knew I was pregnant?
If you had a drink or two before your period was due, don’t panic. It’s not likely that it harmed your baby. The most important thing to focus on is staying as healthy as you can from now on – and that should include swearing off alcohol for the rest of your pregnancy.
How to get help
Whether you have a severe drinking problem or a more moderate one, if you find yourself unable to completely give up alcohol, it’s vital to get help as soon as possible. If you need help, here are some options:
- Talk to your healthcare provider about counseling and treatment.
- Call your local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), listed in the white pages of the phone book and on the AA website.
- Call a local crisis intervention helpline (listed in the yellow pages under “crisis intervention”).
- Find a substance abuse treatment facility near you on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.