The side effects of alcohol during pregnancy

It is widely advised to abstain from heavy drinking and for pregnant women, drinking alcohol has always been a big NO. However, the question always remains if it’s ok to enjoy a glass or two of wine or beer during pregnancy. While some doctors may completely rule out drinking during pregnancy, a few of them says moderate drinking never actually harms the unborn little. Even our well-wishers share a very controversial opinion about liquor drinking when pregnant. In today’s blog, we bring to you the adverse effects of moderate and heavy drinking during pregnancy.

One or two glasses? How much is safe?

A study published in the Harvard Health Publishing by Harvard Medical School clearly states that light drinking during the first three months of pregnancy(first trimester) might not affect the mother or the fetus. However, the fetus starts developing into a baby from the second half of the first trimester, so alcohol might have adverse effects on the growth of the child. Recent studies completely rule out even moderate drinking. They say that alcohol as little as just a glass can be dangerous to a developing baby.         

The mother and the baby shares one placenta, making it easy for the alcohol to travel to the baby’s blood, thus damaging the growth of baby’s cells. The neurological cells might suffer the maximum damage. A group of disorders that affects a person due to fetal alcohol exposure is termed as FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorders). 

Pregnancy consultation can be done from home. Book appointment and consult a gynaecologist online.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)

Due to over exposure of alcohol by the mother during pregnancy, the fetus suffers a permanent damage. The neurological, mental and physical attributes of the child get affected on various levels starting from serious to mild. This group of disorders is referred to as FASD. Below are certain types of FASD:

  • Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) 
  • Partial fetal alcohol syndrome 
  • Alcohol-related birth defects 
  • Alcohol-related neurodevelopment disorder 
  • Neurobehavioral disorder associated with prenatal alcohol exposure 

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)

FAS or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is one of the extreme forms of disorder that affects a child for a lifetime. Especially, if the mother is a heavy drinker, the alcohol passes into the blood of a growing fetus choking it of its nutrition and oxygen supply. 

This severe condition created due to maternal alcohol intake may result in impaired vision and hearing, abnormal facial features, poor motor and cognitive skills, difficulty in learning and attention deficiency. The damage cannot be cured. Although previous researches had ruled out any significant effects of alcohol during the first few months of pregnancy, recent studies show that a fetus is at a high health risk during the first trimester. 

There is no specific treatment or medications as such to cure children affected by FAS. However behavioural counselling added with parental love and care is believed to help such kids.

It is said “Prevention is better than cure”. Prevent the urge to drink even at a social gathering if you’re trying to conceive or might get pregnant anytime sooner. And for those heavy drinkers, visit a counsellor to get rid of your drinking habit and then try getting pregnant. You are responsible for your baby. Any unhealthy habit of yours will leave a permanent scar on the baby that cannot be reversed.