healthy pregnant woman.

Drinking During Pregnancy: How Can Alcohol Affect Mom And Child?

It’s a well-known fact that alcoholism poses serious health problems for women. Throw in pregnancy, and the risk escalates even further. As a woman, there are several bad choices you could make while you’re expecting a child and drinking while pregnant is up there as one of the worst. It’s not just taking alcohol during pregnancy that you should avoid. Drinking while trying for a baby is just as bad.

How Alcohol Affects Pregnant Mom’s Health?

Taking beer, spirits, or wine while pregnant can cause health issues for both the mother and the baby. Excessive alcohol intake can cause damages to the baby’s developing cells. This condition can lead to miscarriage. Alcohol intake in pregnant women can lead to both psychosocial and physical risks for the mother.

Psychosocial risks include anxiety, work disability, conflicts with partner, depression, child neglect, driving under the influence, and depression. Physical risks include seizure, malnutrition, cancer (breast, mouth, liver, and esophagus), malnutrition, and injuries leading to miscarriages caused by falls.

As earlier stated, you shouldn’t only be worried about drinking during pregnancy. Alcohol can also hamper your chances of conceiving as it affects fertility.

How Does Alcohol Impact on Fetus?

Drinking alcohol while pregnant can also have a negative impact on the fetus. Just like food, alcohol passes through the placenta to the fetus. Alcohol metabolism in the fetus happens at a slower rate compared to the mother. This is because babies develop livers at the later stages of organ development.

With the fetus unable to break down alcohol properly, its blood alcohol levels elevate at a rapid rate. Also, taking alcohol while pregnant can lead to fetal development problems and an increased risk of having a child with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). FASD is the unifying name for a host of disorders that results from exposing the fetus to alcohol. They include:

  • Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (pFAS)
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
  • Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD)
  • Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND)

A child born with FASD develops problems like intrauterine growth retardation, low birth weight, brain damage, problems with the child’s vital organs, including the kidneys and the heart. As the child begins to grow, these problems mentioned above could manifest as intellectual and behavioral disabilities. These disabilities may include hyperactivity, lower IQ, learning disabilities, attention problems, and impaired judgment.

How to Stop Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy?

From all that’s been said above, it’s clear that wine and pregnancy don’t mix well. It is, therefore, imperative to stop drinking beer, spirits, and wine during pregnancy. Saying no to alcohol during pregnancy is not as easy as it seems. In fact, one of every ten pregnant women in the US admits to drinking alcohol. Sometimes, you may even be addicted to drinking before you know you’re pregnant. This makes it even harder to break the circle. Luckily, alcohol abstinence is not impossible. Here are a few tips to help you avoid alcohol usage during pregnancy.

  1. Don’t Hang Around Friends who are Heavy Drinkers: Sometimes, you may not intend to drink wine while pregnant. But, you can easily let your guards down when you’re among friends who drink a lot.
  2. To reduce the temptation, it’s better to stay away from friends who are heavy drinkers for the time being. Alternatively, you can simply ask your friends to keep the bottle away when you’re around.
  3. Stay Away from Bars and Pubs: The less alcohol that’s around you, the better your chances of staying away from it. Avoid bars and every other place where there’s a lot of alcohol use.
  4. Engage in Stress Reducing Activities: Most pregnant women drink to relieve the stress that comes with carrying another life inside of them. It’s completely understandable. But to save your life and the life of your baby, you can take up other stress-relieving activities like meditation, frequent deep breaths, and a long bath.

Whether it’s drinking during early pregnancy or while your fetus is six months old, you’re harming yourself and the baby. Doctors are still not certain if any amount of alcohol is healthy, so it’s best to completely stay away from alcohol consumption. If you’re struggling with alcohol abstinence, you can rest assured that Sober Women of La Crosse is willing to welcome you with open arms and give you the help you need.