Alcohol and Pregnancy

Is it safe to drink alcohol during pregnancy?

The advice regarding alcohol and pregnancy is updated each time new evidence is found. Currently, experts advise that pregnant women do not consume any alcohol. Alcohol passes readily into the placenta and enters the fetal bloodstream. Your baby’s liver is one of the last organs to develop.Heavy drinking increases your risk of miscarriage, preterm labour and stillbirth. Experts have not yet determined what a safe amount to drink is. They therefore recommend total abstinence during pregnancy.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

Heavy alcohol consumption during pregnancy can affect how your baby develops. Heavy drinking can cause mild learning disabilities, facial disfigurement and growth problems.

At the extreme end of the spectrum is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Children with FAS have facial disfigurement, heart defects and low birth weights. Children with FAS are likely to suffer lifelong behavioural problems and poor coordination.

Tips on cutting down

Many pregnant women find that the nausea and sickness associated with pregnancy, puts them off even the thought of drinking. However, some pregnant women find it harder to give up than others. If you find yourself struggling to cut out alcohol, you could try the following tips:

  • Replacement – If you don’t fancy sitting in a beer garden sipping tap water, why not order a virgin cocktail? Just because you can’t drink alcohol, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your drink.
  • Redirection – if you use alcohol to unwind after a hard day at work, you need to find a new way to destress. You could try having a relaxing bubble bath, yoga or massage.
  • Support – if you and your partner previously drank alcohol together, ask him to abstain for a while.
  • Friends and family – ask your friends and family to support you by not offering you alcoholic drinks.
  • Have a night in – if you’re dreading the idea of being the only sober person at the party, don’t go. Spend a night relaxing at home instead. There will be plenty of parties to attend in the future.

Getting support

If you are struggling to cut down, and find yourself wanting a drink – or even drinking one – speak to your healthcare provider immediately. They will be able to offer you specialised help to assist you in abstaining during the pregnancy. Don’t worry about being judged, your healthcare provider will just be happy you sought help.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.