Is alcohol safe during pregnancy? - Herbal Health

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Friday, 8 December 2017

Is alcohol safe during pregnancy?

No one knows exactly what harmful effects even the smallest amount of alcohol has on a developing baby.

Is alcohol safe during pregnancy? 

    In short, the answer is no. There is no way to know how much alcohol is safe during pregnancy. Experts agree that drinking alcohol during pregnancy could pose a long-term risk to your developing baby, and the more you drink, the higher the risks. 

    Health professionals recommend avoiding alcohol completely during pregnancy. It's especially important to steer clear of alcohol in the first trimester, because of the risk of miscarriage. Drinking at this time has also been associated with a higher rate of premature birth.

    It’s safest not to drink alcohol at all during pregnancy. However, if you do decide to drink while you're pregnant, limit it to one or two units of alcohol, no more than once or twice a week, and never enough to get drunk. 

    Getting drunk by heavy or binge drinking during your pregnancy can cause serious harm to your baby. Heavy drinking is regularly having five or more units of alcohol per day. Binge drinking is six or more units of alcohol in one session. 
    When you have an alcoholic drink, the alcohol goes into your bloodstream. Once alcohol is in your bloodstream, it reaches your baby across the placenta. 

    The more you drink, the higher your baby's risk of developing problems that will last a lifetime. These problems range from fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) to fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), depending on how heavy or frequent your drinking is. 

    Babies born with FASD may have problems with attention, learning and social understanding, as well as speech, and often don't grow as well as they should. A baby born with FAS, the most severe condition caused by alcohol, may also have brain damage and abnormal facial features.

    Drinking during pregnancy also puts you at greater risk of having a miscarriage or premature birth. It may even increase the risk of your baby being stillborn.

    If you drank alcohol before you knew you were pregnant, try not to worry. Many women have had a night out without realising they've conceived. 

    The safest approach is to cut out alcohol as soon as you find out that you're expecting. 

    When a pregnant woman drinks, the alcohol quickly travels through her bloodstream and reaches the baby. The baby breaks down alcohol more slowly, so she may end up with higher levels of blood alcohol than the pregnant lady herself.
    Scientific studies have shown that alcohol increases the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. It can also lead to low birth weight, and cognitive problems with the child like slow learning abilities, problems with speech, attention span, language etc.

    "Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders" (FASD) is the term experts use to describe the range of problems related to alcohol exposure before birth. It can result in a lifelong condition characterised by poor growth (in the womb, after birth, or both), abnormal facial features, and damage to the central nervous system. So, pregnant ladies are advised to abstain from alcohol completely.

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