Why Drinking Alcohol during pregnancy is not advisable?

 Why Drinking Alcohol during pregnancy is not advisable?


When a woman gets pregnant they are strongly advised to not do. Generally, alcohol is harmful to a person’s health. So, during pregnancy, it not only affects the woman but her baby too. There are long-term health problems a baby may get when a pregnant woman consumes alcohol.

Whatever a pregnant woman eats and drinks is transferred to the baby via the umbilical cord. So, if she consumes any alcoholic beverage it travels through her blood to the baby’s blood. Studies have shown that alcohol remains longer in a baby’s blood than in an adult’s. This leads to serious complications in the baby’s health.

Harmful effects of alcohol during pregnancy on the baby.

Alcohol consumptionwhether in a large or small amountis known to compromise a baby’s health. Sometimes a large amount of alcohol may not have long-term consequences, but a sometimes little amount may have damaging effects. Not every pregnancy is similar.

Drinking any time during pregnancy may affect the baby’s organs and developing brains. It may lead to these problems:

• Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder(FASD): This is a range of problems that occur when a baby is exposed to alcohol before birth. In this infants can have both physical and intellectual problems. The symptoms of FASD are:
▪ Small attention span
▪ Behavioural problems
▪ Heart defect
▪ Change in the facial structure
▪ Poor muscle tone
▪ Poor growth before and after birth
▪ Problems with movement and balance
▪ Problems with speech
▪ Intellectual problem
▪ Learning problems
▪ Low weight 
▪ Difficulty in vision and hearing
• Premature Delivery: This happens when a baby is born before 37 weeks of gestation. On account of being born earlier, their body is underdeveloped, resulting in serious health issues. These may last their whole life. Most premature babies have difficulty in breathing, so they are kept on ventilators till they are not safe.
• Cerebral Palsy: It is a group of disorders that damages the immature, developing brain. It affects the movement or posture of the baby. Cerebral Palsy happens mostly before birth. 

Its symptoms differ from person to person. Either it affects the whole body or a portion of the body. The symptoms of cerebral palsy are:

▪ Difficulty in movement and coordination
▪ The disparity in muscle tone
▪ The problem with walking properly
▪ Doing simple tasks like picking up a pen, or buttoning up a short proves to be difficult
▪ It causes speech problems
▪ Difficulty forming coherent sentences
▪ Difficult to eat, suck or chew
▪ Too much drooling
▪ Delay in crawling, or 


▪ Stunted growth
▪ Seizures
▪ Abnormal eye movements
▪ Unstable mental health with behavioral problems.
▪ Difficulty in hearing
• Miscarriage: Alcoholism also leads to the loss of pregnancy. This happens when a baby dies in the uterus before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Sometimes a woman drinks alcohol, unbeknownst of her pregnancy. This unintentional damage raises the chances of miscarriage.
• Stillbirth: Stillbirth happens when a baby is dead at the time of delivery. Mothers consuming alcohol while pregnant have 40 percent more chances to experience stillbirth. 
• Underweight at the delivery: The alcohol messes up with the developing body of the baby, leading to low birth weight. If the baby is weighed less than 5 pounds and 8 ounces, they are categorized as underweight. 

How much alcohol is safe during pregnancy?

While it is smart to steer clear of alcohol completely during pregnancysome health professionals say that alcohol consumption in small amounts is not harmful. It does not have any effect on the mother’s and baby’s health. Despite this factmany people have been known to disagree.

For some time nowthere has been a little conflict regarding the intake of alcohol. Various studies have been conducted in this regard. Experts have studied pregnant women and their alcohol consumption habits

They say that having a small quantity of alcohol in the first trimester is not harmful. It does not increase blood pressure and does not lead to any other complications. These studies have been done in many countries, and the results, though similarhave little distinction. 

Even after all the studies, there is no clear consensus among health professionals regarding this subject. Many still advise against any amount of alcohol and any type of alcohol during any time of pregnancy period.

Many women ask questions regarding the type of alcohol that will be less harmful than others. But the truth isthere is no difference if you drinking wine or beer. It has not been proven that one is less harmful than the other. Sometimes even a low level of drinking during pregnancy may lead to long-term harmful effects.

Risk to pregnant women’s health.

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy does not only affect a baby’s health but also puts the mother’s own health at risk. The adverse effects mother can get are:

• High blood pressure may result in preeclampsia. Preeclampsia puts high pressure on the kidney and heart.
• Dehydration and vomiting. This leads to a lower level of amniotic fluid, which may trigger premature labor.
• The baby may not get full nutrition value from the mother's diet. Alcohol drinking causes nutritional deficiency
• Gestational diabetes is diabetes that pregnant women get. This may lead to type 2 diabetes. When a woman drinks alcohol it increases the chance of gestational diabetes.

Why do some women choose to drink during pregnancy?

While women have been told to abstain from drinking when pregnant, they still choose to do it. Alcohol is not good for both the mother and the baby. But still, we see women making thconscious decision of consuming alcohol. And, the reason fothese are:

• Lifestyle: Some women lead a life where before pregnancy they would drink copious amounts of alcohol. So when they get pregnant it may prove difficult for them to stop drinking, because of their habit. Going cold turkey and stopping drinking completely is not easy. 

It may also be difficult for them if in their circle drinking is common and the norm. It is difficult to abstain when everyone else around you continues to drink

• Women are unaware of their pregnancy: Studies have shown that around 50% of pregnancies are unplanned. So it is obvious that women regularly drink in their first trimester being completely oblivious. Though many women when they find out are pregnant stop drinking. But many continue in the small amount. 
• They believe a small amount is not dangerous. Women do believe that if they continue drinking in small quantities it will not harm their babies. In the medical field, the debate about alcohol consumption has not reached any conclusion yet. There have been differing information out there, even among health experts. 

So some women think it is ok to drink alcohol as it has been okayed by their doctors.

• Alcohol addiction: The worst reason to drink during pregnancy is alcohol addiction. Many women suffer heavily from this addiction. It spans all age groups and races. So when an alcoholic woman gets pregnant, it is extremely hard for her to quit. 

Although it may be a good opportunity for them to quit drinking. But they should never be pressured as it may have the opposite effect. 

• Using alcohol to cope with difficult situations like abuse, violence, or poverty. There always have been a large number of cases of violence and abuse towards women. Some live with their abusers and find it difficult to leave them. So alcohol becomes their coping mechanism. During pregnancy, they find it difficult to quit as their situation remains unchanged.
• Some women may see it as another patriarchal decision to control them. When women get pregnant they are given long lists of dos and don’t. What to eat, what not to eat, what to do etc. So when they are told that they have to quit drinking it has been viewed as another patriarchal command. 

This is because historically men have been known to police women on various subjects including their bodies. So when the act was passed in the US telling women to stop drinking while pregnant, some men started shaming women and policing them. However, that is not the case here and abstaining from alcohol is the right choice.

How to avoid drinking during pregnancy?

If you drink and know that you are pregnant now, then you should immediately stop drinking. Alcohol is often part of our social lives. Women are used to taking an occasional wine, beer, or any other alcoholic drink at dinner parties or any other event. It may be hard to stop drinking while pregnant. So here are some useful tips:

• If you get an urge to drink plan to divert your mind from that. You can instead drink some juice, non-alcoholic beverages, or water.
• If you can avoid social situations where drinking is a part of the event, you should avoid them.
• Any alcohol present in the house gives urges to consume it. So you should simply remove the alcohol from the house.
• You can ask your, partner and friends for help and support. Maybe they can avoid drinking in front of you so you don’t feel like drinking. 
• For alcoholic pregnant women, they should talk to their health professionals regarding any alcoholic treatment program.
• They can also join the Alcoholics Anonymous support group.

In conclusion, the message to the pregnant ladies is as clear as day. Alcohol should not be consumed in any form at any time during the pregnancy period. And if you choose to do so you are not only harming the baby but your own health. 

Previous Post Next Post