There is still very little known about the effects that alcohol has during pregnancy, because of that you will usually hear that it is wise to not drink anything while you are expecting a baby.
Of course, this is not always possible for a nine month term – either you will have some sort of event to attend or you will crave just one night to relax with a glass of wine. So, it begs the question as to whether it really is safe to drink alcohol during pregnancy.
The problem of drinking alcohol during pregnancy
Alcohol will affect the baby by reaching the placenta quickly. This is because the toxin gets into your bloodstream so will offer a quicker route to the unborn child. This puts the baby at the risks of the drink.
There are a number of dangers for a baby when alcohol is involved, especially during the earlier stages of pregnancy. When the baby is developing, the alcohol can damage the cells.
This will damage the chances of the baby developing correctly and will often lead to birth defects.
There are also problems linked to the nervous system; these problems may lead to some learning difficulties or disabilities.
If you drink heavily, you also put yourself at more risks of having a miscarriage, during the first 20 weeks, or having a stillborn child if later. Premature labor is also possible due to alcohol during pregnancy.
Is alcohol during pregnancy ever safe?
Cutting out all alcohol is difficult for some women. Either they feel pressurized by friends or they simply need that one glass of wine a week to treat themselves and relax.
One glass of wine will not do much damage to the baby – as long as you do stick to that one glass. You should not drink any more than two units per week.
Drinking at home will cause a problem with this because you will usually pour more than a pub or restaurant would. You will also need to be careful with some wine because the higher strengths will mean more units – some now have three units in them.
Drinking before you know you are pregnant
Many women will not realize that they are pregnant and will continue drinking. There is very little known about the damage that this has on the baby. If you are planning on getting pregnant then you should cut out alcohol before you conceive. If you were not trying, then you should stop drinking as soon as you find out to avoid any lasting damage.
There are plenty of options to enjoy instead of drinking alcohol during pregnancy. There are non-alcoholic versions, including alcohol-free beer and wine. These are excellent options to still enjoy the taste and you may be able to trick yourself into believing you are drinking the real thing.
You should also look for alternatives to help unwind. Instead of enjoying that glass of wine, have a warm bath or do some exercise. These will be healthy alternatives, not just for the baby but for you too.
If you have a female friend or loved one who can’t stop drinking even when she’s pregnant, you might want to consider getting professional alcohol intervention services to get her to seek help.