Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can be harmful for both mother and baby

‘Smoking and drinking is injurious to health’ is something we all have heard. This suggestion is applicable to everyone irrespective of their gender. But women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should avoid drinking as it can cause serious health issues for the baby. Even consuming a glass of wine on a regular basis can increase the chances of several mental, developmental and emotional disorders in the unborn fetus. Once a woman discovers she is expecting, she should refrain from drinking.

Why alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy

If a woman consumes any kind of alcoholic drink, the liquor in blood swiftly passes the placenta and the umbilical cord to the baby. The placenta grows in uterus and supplies food and oxygen via the umbilical cord. Drinking any amount of alcohol can harm a baby’s growing and developing brain with other organs. No amount of liquor is safe at any time of pregnancy. Alcohol can harm and create problems any time during the pregnancy even before you know you are expecting. You may have conceived and wouldn’t know for 4 to 6 weeks.

In a survey, around 11 per cent of pregnant women had alcohol in the last 30 days while more than three per cent of women agreed to binge drinking. Women with binge drinking reported about drinking 4.6 times in a month than non-pregnant females who drank 3.1 times in the same time frame. Approximately 3.3 million women between 15 to 44 years of age are at the risk of an unborn child due to heavy drinking habits. Most of them admitted about drinking when they are sexually active and did not use any birth control. Four out of five women did not stop alcohol consumption once they stopped using birth control. In another study, it was found that more than 85 per cent females who used to drink prior conceiving quit after getting pregnant while eight per cent reduced the alcohol amount while seven per cent did not change the liquor habit and amount.

Effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy might increase the chances of below-mentioned issues:

Chances of premature birth: It happens when the baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy and babies have serious health issues at birth and later in life. It also results in brain damage and problems in growth & development.

Defects: Birth defects such as heart defects, hearing issues or vision troubles are health conditions that are present in the child since birth. These issues can change shape or functions of one or more parts of the body. It can also affect the overall health, body’s development and functioning.

FASDs: Child with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder might have to face certain problems such as intellectual and developmental disabilities. It affects the working of the brain, troubles in communicating, learning, understanding and getting along with others. FASDs also delays or create problems in physical development and can last for a lifetime. Continuous drinking increases the chances of FASDs in pregnant women. It also includes Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (pFAS), Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND) and Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD).