Avoid alcohol if you’re pregnant

October 2, 2017

Experts are conflicted on the effects of alcohol on pregnancy, therefore the National Health Service (NHS) has advised pregnant women to stay away from consuming alcohol altogether.
What happens when I drink alcohol while pregnant?
Alcohol passes from your blood through the placenta and to your baby.
A baby’s liver is one of the last organs to develop and doesn’t mature until the later stages of pregnancy.

Your baby cannot process alcohol as well as you can, and too much exposure to alcohol can seriously affect their development.

Drinking alcohol, especially in the first three months of pregnancy, increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth and your baby having a low birth weight.

Drinking after the first three months of your pregnancy could affect your baby after they’re born.

The risks are greater the more you drink. The effects include learning difficulties and behavioural problems.

Drinking heavily throughout pregnancy can cause your baby to develop a serious condition called foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).
Children with FAS have:

• poor growth
• facial abnormalities
• learning and behavioural problems

Drinking less heavily, and even drinking heavily on single occasions, may be associated with lesser forms of FAS. The risk is likely to be greater the more you drink.

How to avoid alcohol in pregnancy
It may not be as difficult as you think to avoid alcohol completely for nine months, as many women go off the taste of alcohol early in pregnancy.

Most women do give up alcohol once they know they’re pregnant or when they’re planning to become pregnant.

Women who find out they’re pregnant after already having drunk in early pregnancy should avoid further drinking.

However, they should not worry unnecessarily, as the risks of their baby being affected are likely to be low.

If you’re concerned, talk to your midwife or doctor.

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Category: Features, Health alert

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