Drinking alcohol during pregnancy may seem like no big deal, but the CDC states that no amount of alcohol during pregnancy is safe. In fact, they also recommend against drinking any alcohol when trying to get pregnant.
Think of it this way: would you let your baby drink alcohol? Rum? Vodka? Tequila?
If you answered “no,” then you can’t drink either. When you drink alcohol, your baby is effectively doing the same exact thing. Remember, everything you ingest will be transferred to the baby, too, including alcohol.
Table of Contents
- 1. How Early on Should a Woman Stop Drinking?
- 2. Why is Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy Dangerous?
- 3. Does Every Baby Have Complications When Mom Drinks Alcohol?
- 4. Doesn’t a Woman’s Body Produce an Enzyme to Breakdown Alcohol?
- 5. Can Drinking Alcohol While Pregnant Lead to a Miscarriage?
- 6. I Still Have My Doubts, What Should I Do?
- 7. I Can’t Stop Drinking. What Should I Do?
1. How Early on Should a Woman Stop Drinking?
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders can occur as early as conception, so it’s ideal to stop drinking any form of alcohol even when trying to get pregnant. If you don’t take contraceptives and may be at risk of conceiving, the CDC even recommends not drinking at this time, too.
Half of pregnancies are unplanned, so if you are sexually active, you may get pregnant and cause damage to your baby.
2. Why is Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy Dangerous?
You can cause lasting harm to your child if you choose to drink alcohol while the baby is in the womb. The issue is that there are no benefits to drinking alcohol for the baby, and there are only harsh side effects and risks.
The risks that your baby will suffer – not you – from your night of drinking are:
- Shorter height
- Lower weight
- Small head
- Abnormal features
- Poor memory
- Speech delays
- Poor judgement skills
- Heart, kidney and bone problems
- Hearing and vision problems
- Low IQ
- Learning disabilities
And these are just some of the risks that your baby will suffer from due to your poor judgement. I’m not trying to be harsh, but if you think that shot of Absinthe or that drink of champagne are perfectly fine when you’re pregnant, you’re absolutely wrong.
3. Does Every Baby Have Complications When Mom Drinks Alcohol?
It depends. Some women can drink a lot, and their babies will come out just fine. Other women will have one or two drinks, and they’ll have complications. Some women will even stop drinking in the 2nd and 3rd trimester, and this is far too risky for any doctor to recommend.
You shouldn’t even be drinking in the 1st trimester.
A big issue is that the scientific data is still lacking on low alcohol consumption while pregnant. Women often have a drink of beer while pregnant, and just a sip is often all she needs to satisfy her desire. But, there are a lot of “what ifs.”
The CDC found that 1 in 8 pregnant women drank alcohol at least once in the past month.
So, there’s a lot of babies being put at risk because some pregnant woman thought just a little alcohol wouldn’t cause damage to her baby. And maybe it doesn’t, but you know what?
Scientists have found that there is no amount proven to be safe.
Researchers still don’t know enough about fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) to really be able to say when it’s safe to drink alcohol. The only thing we know with 100% certainty is that a woman that drinks while she is pregnant can cause her baby to suffer from FASDs.
I know many women that have drank a glass of wine to celebrate being pregnant, and their babies didn’t have any noticeable damage.
But then again, maybe they could have been brighter children. Maybe they do have a defect? Maybe that ADHD was avoidable?
4. Doesn’t a Woman’s Body Produce an Enzyme to Breakdown Alcohol?
Yes, but the exact amount of this enzyme differs from one woman to the next. There are woman with low levels of this enzyme, and when they drink, their child is at a much higher risk of FASDs. It’s really a game of how much are you willing to risk the health and well-being of your child?
If you can live with yourself after causing your child to suffer from a lifelong disability, then maybe the risk is worth it for you.
See, there are too many unknowns and variables to take into account to determine what will happen to your baby if you drink any alcoholic beverage. A woman may drink a glass of wine, and her child may suffer for the rest of his or her life with a disability that was 100% avoidable.
Another woman may drink like a fish, and she will have a baby that’s normal.
This can be a result of the enzyme imbalance that we’re discussing with you now, or maybe it’s other factors out of a woman’s control.
The only factor you can safely control is the consumption of alcohol.
5. Can Drinking Alcohol While Pregnant Lead to a Miscarriage?
Yes. Some women will drink so much that they actually kill their baby in the process. A miscarriage will occur, and this is when the baby dies in the womb 20 weeks or less after being conceived. Stillbirth, or when the baby is born dead, can also occur.
This is a life or death matter.
In some cases, the baby will suffer from heart defects that will shorten their lives or potentially kill them, too. Brain damage is also possible where alcohol was the main contributing factor to the baby being born with a brain that’s not able to be repaired.
6. I Still Have My Doubts, What Should I Do?
I always caution being on the safe side and not touching a drop of alcohol when pregnant. Can pregnant women drink wine? Maybe, but not me. I couldn’t live with the thought that my actions may cause my child to suffer forever.
If you’ve heard alcohol consumption is not a concern (many people have been told that), you probably still have your doubts.
The only thing I can recommend at this point is to consult with your doctor.
Certain women are at a much higher risk of causing permanent damage to their child if they drink while pregnant. You may also be on medications that can conflict with alcohol causing you to suffer from lasting damage in the process.
7. I Can’t Stop Drinking. What Should I Do?
There are times when a person can’t stop drinking. Conscious thoughts of drinking flood their mind, and they may get sick when they’re not drinking. If you fall into this category, you have an addiction and need to seek out professional help.
Even addicts have the ability to change today to ensure that their child has a better tomorrow.
There are groups out there that will help, including (Alcoholics Anonymous). You need to be strong for your baby, and this means doing everything in your power to put down that drink and ensure that your baby has a good life.
A doctor will guide you to an addiction center if needed.
You can kick this habit.
Consuming any amount of alcohol is not good for a baby no matter what stage of development they may be in. It’s even recommended that you don’t consume alcohol when trying to get pregnant. Even if your friends or family were lucky to give birth to a healthy baby and drank during their pregnancy, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be this lucky.
Most professionals advise against even a sip of an alcoholic beverage when pregnant.