The news of a newborn soon arriving is a happy occasion, and happy occasions are often accompanied by a round or two of drinking. However, most expectant mothers are confused as to what constitutes ‘safe’ drinking during their 9 months of pregnancy.
Amongst the many precautions a mother-to-be must take to safeguard her child health, abstinence from smoking, drinking and the use of recreational drugs is of utmost importance. Drug intake and smoking have a very obvious deleterious effect on the mother’s health as well as the baby’s; intra-uterine growth retardation, stillbirth and preterm labor being some of the most dangerous complications. But there is a certain grey area when it comes to alcohol intake since there’s a certain “What harm can just a little do?” mentality.
Harmful Effects of Alcohol:
As it turns out, it can do a LOT of harm to your baby. The placenta transfers both the good (in the form of nutrients) and the bad (in the form of toxins) to your baby and any toxin that goes in stays in the baby’s system for a longer time as compared to the mothers.
Stillbirths and miscarriages are common with alcohol intake. Another severe result of alcohol use is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a rare but well-documented condition characterized by poor growth, abnormal facial features, and damage to the brain and spinal cord.
Babies with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome may also have abnormally small heads and brains (known as microcephaly), as well as other anatomical defects. This translates into intellectual disability, delays in attainment of developmental milestones during childhood, defective vision as well as hearing problems.
The Best Solution – No Alcohol:
The scariest part is, that there is no way of knowing exactly how much alcohol intake can give rise to these defects. A greater amount may lead to a wider spectrum of defects, but there’s no way of saying with certainty that modest amounts of drinking will have only modest effects. And bear in mind, these are irreversible, lifelong effects.
Therefore, the rule of thumb during pregnancy when it comes to alcohol is : NO amount of alcohol is a safe amount, and it’s better to exercise control in the short run than risk the possibility of suffering in the long run.