Medical experts are not sure how much alcohol is safe for you to have while you’re pregnant. Some doctors recommend that you completely cut out alcohol when you’re expecting, whereas others say that occasional light drinking is unlikely to harm your baby.
Alcohol consumption can affect your baby’s development & health:
Consuming alcohol at any time during pregnancy can cause serious health problems for your baby. When you drink alcohol during pregnancy, the alcohol in your blood passes through the placenta and the umbilical cord to your baby, which may damage the developing brain and other organs.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy increases your baby’s chances of having these problems:
- Premature birth: Premature babies may have serious health problems at birth and later in life.
- Brain damage and problems with normal growth and development
- Birth defects: Alcohol injected to your baby might cause birth defects such as heart defects, hearing problems or vision problems. In order to avoid problems in overall health, how the body develops, or in how the body works for a baby, it is best recommended to avoid alcohol.
- Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (also called FASDs): Children with FASDs may have a range of problems, including intellectual and developmental disabilities. FASDs usually last a lifetime and may cause a person to have trouble in learning, communicating, taking care of himself or getting along with others. Heavy drinking during pregnancy increases your chances of having a baby with FASDs.
- Low birth weight (LBW): This is when a baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces.
- Miscarriage: This is when a baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy.
- Still birth: This is when a baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Okay, but I am finding it difficult to quit alcohol. What should I do?
At times, you may feel like drinking alcohol during pregnancy. You cannot avoid alcohol at parties or sports events. You may be used to having a glass of wine occasionally and giving up alcohol during pregnancy may be tough.
Here are some tips to help you stop drinking alcohol:
- If you miss the ritual of drinking, switch to a non-alcoholic beer or wine during your evening meal or a party. It is best to stay away from situations or places where you usually drink, like parties or bars.
- Take a long shower or listen to your favorite music when you have a alcohol craving
- Stay motivated with pregnancy exercises such as yoga or spend time in meditation
- Take up a hobby such as reading, painting or gardening
- Tell your husband / partner and your friends and family to encourage and support you in a bid to avoid alcohol.
- If you’re concerned that you are drinking too much and feel that you cannot stop – talk with your doctor. He or she can refer you for counseling or treatment.
For decades, researchers have known that heavy drinking during pregnancy can cause birth defects. But the potential effects of small amounts of alcohol on a developing baby are not well understood. Because of this divided opinion,the World Health Organisation (WHO) advises pregnant women to avoid alcohol completely.