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Drinking Alcohol While Pregnant

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Pregnancy related image Photo: Getty Images

There is no “safe” amount of alcohol allowed in the pregnant diet. None. This is because there has been a positive association between alcohol consumption of the mother and physical, mental, and growth problems that occur to the baby during pregnancy (referred to as fetal alcohol syndrome, or FAS).

If alcohol is consumed during pregnancy certain fetal symptoms might present like:
• Poor fetal growth & growth after the baby is born
• Decreased muscle tone and poor coordination

• Delayed development
• Certain heart defects
• Facial structure abnormalities (like small head, small eyes with deep folds, smooth groove in upper lip, and thin upper lip)
Also, miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature delivery can be the result of alcohol intake.

As already mentioned, drinking alcohol at any time during pregnancy is not advised. The most harmful effects however have been noticed in the first three months (which is scary because if unexpected, many women might be drinking regularly without even knowing they are pregnant!). In these first three months crucial development of bones, tissues, organs and the central nervous system are developing. Alcohol affects the fetal brain at any time during pregnancy.

Why does alcohol affect the fetus? When you drink alcohol, it enters the bloodstream and easily passes through the placenta. Here, the fetus metabolizes alcohol much slower than the adult does, so the baby’s blood-alcohol concentrations get much higher than yours or mine. Alcohol interferes with the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the developing tissues and brain, causing permanent, harmful side effects.

If you regularly drink alcohol and become pregnant, see a doctor immediately. Early diagnosis and interventions can help prevent long-term complications for the baby. According to the Mayo Clinic, in the United States alone as many as 40,000 babies are born each year with some type of alcohol-related damage, all of which are preventable! If you or someone you love has a drinking problem, we’re here to help.

Information in this article can be found at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fetal-alcohol-syndrome

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