Drinking A Little Alcohol Early In Pregnancy May Be Okay

Fetal alcohol syndrome is completely preventable in children whose mothers don’t drink during pregnancy. If a mother-to-be is struggling with alcohol dependency, there is often more to her situation. It is important for pregnant women to find care that will treat their AUD and the root causes of their addiction. The total of 21 participants included eight pregnant women , nine mothers who recently gave birth , and four partners of pregnant women. The majority of participants were Caucasian (95%), with one woman of Asian descent (5%).

Drinking any amount of alcohol at any time during pregnancy can harm your baby’s developing brain and other organs. No amount of alcohol has been proven safe at any time during pregnancy. The recommended form of treatment will often vary depending on how long and how frequent the woman has been drinking. For instance, if a woman’s alcohol use disorder is minor, a physician may refer her to an outpatient treatment center. However, 24/7 medical care from an inpatient facility is usually required for more severe cases of alcohol use. These programs allow treatment providers to monitor both mother and baby closely during detox and other stages of the recovery process.

Consequences Of Drinking While Pregnant

How COVID-19 Has Impacted Alcohol AbuseAs the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the numbers of alcohol abuse have continued to rise, causing concern across America. When it came time for the ultrasound, I begged her to just ensure the baby had a head.

The baby remains in an irritated mood, cries frequently, doesn’t sleep properly, weakening of sucking ability and increased hunger. Babies whose mothers drank alcohol during their pregnancy can be born with birth defects and developmental disabilities. The problems that can happen when babies are exposed to alcohol are grouped together and called fetal alcohol spectrum disorders . These include a wide range of physical, behavioral, and learning problems.

Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy

If you’re pregnant and wondering if it’s OK to indulge in the occasional small glass of merlot or to sip a little champagne on New Year’s Eve, the advice you receive may be confusing. If you find Facts for Families© helpful and would like to make good mental health a reality, consider donating to the Campaign for America’s Kids. Your support will help us continue to produce and distribute Facts for Families, as well as other vital mental health information, free of charge. Early intervention is important to reduce the chances that children born with FAS will have serious problems when they get older. The symptoms of FAS last a lifetime, but may change as the child gets older. Have behavioral and medical issues that can become apparent at different life stages. Be proud of yourself for doing all you can to have a healthy baby.

If you feel uncomfortable chatting with them about things that may affect your pregnancy, find a new doctor. Being able to speak honestly about your health and the health of your baby during pregnancy is crucial to having a healthy, happy nine months. In one 2015 study done in mice, researchers gave the animals alcohol at 8 days gestation — roughly equivalent to the early fourth week in a human pregnancy. They found that the offspring of these mice had changes to their brain structure. Studies have confirmed that children of binge-drinking parents have especially severe cognitive and behavioral problems compared to children of non-binge-drinking parents. This exposes the developing fetus to the same levels of alcohol that cause hangover in adults—at a stage where the brain is still growing and has less capacity for self-repair.

The effects of alcohol on the developing brain during pregnancy are not reversible. However, early intervention can improve the chances of success for the child.

How Can You Keep Your Baby Safe From Alcohol During Pregnancy?

Anything a mother consumes also passes down to her baby, including dangerous substances like alcohol. Naltrexone is a nonselective opioid antagonist that is used to treat AUD and opioid use disorder. The long-term effects of naltrexone on the fetus are currently unknown. Thus, demonstrating the magnitude of potential damage caused by a single prenatal alcohol exposure. When you’re pregnant, you have to make many changes, including what you eat and drink. It’s important to be aware of what you should (or shouldn’t) be consuming during pregnancy to ensure the safety and health of your baby. Pregnant women must drink more fluids than those who are not expecting, especially during the summer when the weather is hot.

At risk for alcohol withdrawal, which can be dangerous to both mother and baby. FASDs are completely preventable if the mother does not drink during pregnancy. Skip doctors’ appointments or avoid prenatal care altogether. Ultimately, it’s up to each mom-to-be to consult with their doctor and decide if they’ll have the occasional small drink. Those who opt to give up alcohol may miss unwinding with a cocktail, but Archie thinks they won’t regret being cautious.

Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelor’s and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffrey’s desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffrey’s mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them. With just 30 days at a rehab center, you can get clean and sober, start therapy, join a support group, and learn ways to manage your cravings. Children with FASD tend to be friendly and cheerful and enjoy social interaction. But caring for a child with this syndrome can be a challenge.

It can harm the fertility of women who are planning for pregnancy. Adverse effects of alcohol can lead to malnutrition, seizures, vomiting and dehydration. The mother can suffer from anxiety and depression which can result in child abuse/neglect. It has also been observed that when the pregnant mother withdraws from alcohol, its effects are visible on the infant as well.

Alcohol easily passes through the placenta, the organ that nourishes a baby during pregnancy. Even a little bit of alcohol can harm a developing fetus and increase the risk of miscarriage. The bottom line is that we don’t know with certainty where the boundary lies between acceptable and non-acceptable alcohol use during pregnancy. Some studies have shown no effects of alcohol on birth outcomes, whereas other, more recent studies have shown that drinking can cause birth defects and other health issues. More recent research has found different results, including a 2020 review of 23 studies that examined the effects of alcohol intake in pregnancy. Data from these studies revealed an increased incidence of low birth weight and cognitive problems in children born to parents who consumed alcohol in pregnancy. There’s no clear answer to that, which is why pregnant women are warned to avoid alcohol in general.

However, there are still quite a few unknowns regarding the use of alcohol in early pregnancy, including in the days before you knew you were pregnant. Verywell Family’s content is for informational and educational purposes only.

Some treatment centers, such as those offering dual diagnosis treatment, will be able to effectively address any concurrent mental health issues that may be present such as mood, anxiety, thought and affective disorders. Given that a mother’s eating habits during pregnancy can affect the severity of fetal alcohol impairment, it is important to address nutrition, in addition to all aspects of your health during addiction treatment. One in 5 pregnant respondents in their first trimester reported alcohol use in the past 30 days, and 10.5% of those reported binge drinking in the same period. Women who reported binge drinking averaged 4.5 binging episodes during the 30 days.

Alcohol During Pregnancy

They were unable to tell any difference between children whose mothers drank low to moderate amounts of alcohol and those who abstained completely during pregnancy. If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant and cannot stop drinking, get help! Contact your healthcare provider, local Alcoholics Anonymous, or local alcohol treatment center. Carol’s past experience in the medical field has led to a deep knowledge of the struggles those with a substance use disorder face. She is passionate about helping people who are struggling with alcohol abuse and addiction and hopes her writing for Alcohol Rehab Guide can help. In many areas, prenatal doctor appointments also involve substance abuse screenings.

  • Roughly 10 percent of pregnant women between the ages of 18 and 44 have admitted to drinking alcohol in the past 30 days.
  • Because FASDs affect the brain, children may also suffer from mental health disorders, repeat mistakes and fall victim to bad choices.
  • You may find it easy to stop drinking while pregnant, especially if you don’t drink much normally, or if you suddenly find alcohol repulsive due to food aversions or morning sickness.
  • Children with FAS are slower to learn language skills than other kids.
  • So the only thing I felt at that wedding was the sheer joy of being able to drink with impunity for a change.

But they have learning and behavioral problems because they were exposed to alcohol in the womb. They may have trouble with mathematics, problems with memory or attention, problems with impulse control or judgment, and poor school performance. Consider giving up alcohol during your childbearing years if you’re sexually active and you’re having unprotected sex. Many pregnancies are unplanned, and damage can occur in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. Any alcohol a mother drinks during pregnancy enters her bloodstream and can reach the baby. Besides early intervention services and support from your child’s school, providing a stable, nurturing, and safe home environment can help reduce the effects of an FASD. Talk to your child’s doctor or other members of the care team.

Join The Fight For The Health Of All Moms And Babies

Firstly, public health messages and educational materials need to provide clear and consistent information about the effects of alcohol consumption on the developing baby. Additionally, more thorough and consistent routine enquiry for alcohol consumption in pregnant women needs to occur. Finally, it is important to ensure ongoing education for health professionals on the issue of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Children with FASDs may have a range of problems, including intellectual and developmental disabilities. These are problems with how the brain works that can cause a person to have trouble in learning, communicating, taking care of himself or getting along with others.

Accordingly, treatment should be managed by doctors and nurses who are experienced in treating pregnant women with substance use disorders . Depending on a woman’s level of alcohol use, her doctor may recommend specialized inpatient detoxification treatment or outpatient treatment. Experts say that women with certain risk factors should be especially careful about avoiding alcohol while pregnant. You probably should not drink, for example, if you have liver disease, a history of addiction, or are on any medications that may conflict with alcohol, such as antidepressants.

Heavy alcohol use can affect a baby even after a woman has given birth. For example, drinking and breastfeeding is a dangerous combination. Similar to how alcohol can move from a woman’s bloodstream into the umbilical cord and placenta, it can also pass through breast milk. Tocolytic agents are drugs that are used to prevent preterm labor by suppressing uterine contraction.

Don’t minimize your alcohol intake or say you’re drinking less than you are. This is especially true if you find it hard to stop or cut back. Bending the facts to please your doctor will help no one, including your baby.