No one should doubt that drinking while pregnant is threatening the fetal development and the health of a future baby. We all heard, read, and discussed everything about the issue. However, no small number of pregnant women is sure that drinking while pregnant and alcohol abuse is not the same thing. Is there any difference between the two terms if the woman is pregnant? Could a future mother be drinking during pregnancy? And if she could, how much is safe to drink?
Scientists and doctors attempted numerous times to figure this out. And every time they had a new answer to the same question. There is more, there is still no unambiguous solution to it. But the scientific opinion about drinking while pregnant has changed considerably.
Wine during pregnancy
Previously, it’s been considered that it’s not only safe but even healthy for a future mother to have a glass of good wine. Red wine increases hemoglobin and appetite – and that’s important for a pregnant woman. So, drinking while pregnant is possible. And nobody can establish the rules about the permissible dose because everyone has their own limits. Every person reacts to alcohol in their own way. A normal amount for one pregnant woman may be far too much for another. As a rule, drinking while pregnant means a woman may have a glass of red wine per week.
But then the doctors studied the changes drinking while pregnant evokes in the female body. Can it be good for the fetal development? Medical science has proved that the unborn baby is “drinking during pregnancy” with its mother. Of course, it consumes less alcohol – exactly a half of the amount the mother has drunk. The latest data reveal that alcohol gets through the placenta.
We can tell a lot about the effect drinking while pregnant has on the fetus. But this information is not really necessary in order to have an understanding of the problem. Because your personal opinion on drinking while pregnant will depend on only one point: do you consider there can be a safe amount of alcohol for such a tiny and defenseless unborn creature? Are you sure it won’t be killed or maimed?
Drinking while pregnant: medical opinion
That’s why contemporary medical science claims the contrary point of view: drinking while pregnant is not allowed. No one can tell how much wine or beer will have become fatal to your baby. And the worst of it all: there will be no one to blame but you. You’ll take the full responsibility for the health of your unborn child. It doesn’t mean a little beer will result in a tragedy. But it also doesn’t mean the opposite.
There is another interesting fact: it doesn’t make any difference which alcoholic beverage you’re drinking while pregnant. Not long ago health professionals claimed that whiskey, vodka, brandy and such are forbidden but wine and beer are allowed. But now medical experts have proved: any alcoholic drink is potentially dangerous for the offspring.
Don’t panic if you’d been getting drunk before you found out about pregnancy. The only danger of drinking while pregnant during the first days when the embryo is on its way to the uterus is an early miscarriage. But if this happens you won’t even find out you’ve been pregnant. Drinking while pregnant is not dangerous until the placenta is formed and the fetus receives nutrients from its mother’s body. The average of two weeks between the fertilization and the missed period are absolutely safe. Of course, if for some reason the doses of alcohol have been too large and taken too often you should mention it to your gynecologist. But if you just had a few glasses of wine – relax. However, after the implantation of the embryo, you will have to abstain from drinking while pregnant! Even a drop of alcohol during the first trimester can become a cause of abnormalities and malformations. It’s the most important period of the fetal development.
Alcohol and pregnancy: the father’s responsibility
We should also say a few words about the father’s responsibility for the offspring’s well-being. If you’re planning to get pregnant your partner should abstain from alcohol for at least 4 months before the conception. It’ll help to minimize the damage drinking can bring. Scientists have figured out there is a connection between the father’s drinking habit and slowed fetal development. Some of them assume that alcohol intake by the father can also cause fetal alcohol syndrome. Regular drinking even in small doses negatively affects the sperm and, thus, the future baby’s health. One glass of dry wine per day is considered alright. But can you recall how much the father of your child drank?
Drinking during pregnancy: statistics
We don’t want to scare you. It’s only a theory which hasn’t been 100% proved. But the responsibility of a pregnant woman for the impact her actions and decisions have on her baby is an undeniable fact.
But if your opinion on the issue is still unshakable and you think everything we’ve mentioned is of no importance, please, consider this:
- You can drink 2-3 glasses of dry red wine during the whole course of pregnancy, no more!
- During the second trimester alcohol may cause a miscarriage;
- The negative effect of drinking while pregnant starts 90 minutes after alcohol intake;
- Most researches have confirmed that 4-5 doses of alcohol per day are enough to result in fetal alcohol syndrome;
- Even 2 glasses of wine per day can cause abnormalities;
- If you can’t give up drinking while pregnant you can have only one-two beverages per week (and only during a meal).
How does drinking while pregnant affect the future mother and the fetus?
Here are a couple of facts about the influence of alcoholic drinks during pregnancy on your condition and the fetal development. Remember, that you can stop at any time. You’re in control here and it’s completely up to you whether to drink or not. No one has a right to make you continue drinking while pregnant.
- A moderate drinking while pregnant increases the chances of a miscarriage, and excessive drinking leads to the abnormal fetal development called fetal alcohol syndrome.
- During pregnancy, your state of health is much more vulnerable as well. Drinking while pregnant can cause subtle changes in your brain chemistry – you won’t notice the damage at first, but eventually, you will.
- If alcohol gets into the blood flow of the fetus its liver, cardiovascular system, and brain are the first damage points.
- If you’re drinking while pregnant and taking drugs at the same time the possible harm to the fetus increases several times. Painkillers, anticonvulsants, and stimulating drugs are the most dangerous.
- Alcohol disables the female egg cells. So, drinking is harmful even before pregnancy.
- The child of drinking parents usually is underweight, has lower height, and falls behind their peers in development. Such a kid often has a weak immune system and easily gets sick. And what’s more important, they have an inborn inclination to drinking.
- All the alcoholic beverages are toxic for the fetus. Drinking while pregnant is dangerous for your own health as well.
- Be careful when you buy cold medicines or cough syrups without a prescription. A lot of them contain alcohol!