There is a movement that states that it is a myth that women cannot drink while pregnant simply because of a patriarchal tradition. But FASD, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, is the leading known cause of developmental disabilities in children. Taking drugs while breastfeeding and or pregnant is also harmful to the baby.
The safest option if you are planning to become pregnant or you are pregnant is to not drink alcohol at all. The alcohol will pass from the mother’s blood into the baby’s if she drinks while pregnant. The baby’s cells will be affected, and their growth will be damaged.
The brain and the spinal cord damage likely will suffer damage. FASD describes the range of damage from mild to severe. Some of these effects can include but are not limited to problems bonding or feeding as a newborn, birth defects, learning and behavior problems. Growth problems will also develop as most children who were exposed to alcohol are born smaller than other children, and as they grow, they are also smaller than the other children their age.
Their facial features are also distinctive. Children who have been exposed to alcohol may have narrow eye openings, a small head, and or a flat face, and these features will get more obvious in the toddler years. If a woman is consuming alcohol heavily during pregnancy it can lead to a miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature birth of the baby.
Is There a Safe Amount of Alcohol You Can Drink During Pregnancy?
All types of alcohol are equally harmful, including all wines and beer. There is no known safe amount of alcohol use during pregnancy or when trying to get pregnant. It is never too late to stop drinking. Because brain growth takes place throughout pregnancy, the sooner you stop drinking, the safer it will be for you and your baby. Heavy drinking is 5 or more drinks. Some genetics are linked to some babies being harmed more than others by alcohol.
If the mother is mixing alcohol with drugs, smokes, or has poor health, the child will more likely have problems. The stage of the pregnancy and how often the mother drinks will set the relation of the worst effects. It was reported by the CDC that 11.5% of women reported current drinking and 3.9% reported binge drinking during those past 30 days. There is no stage of the pregnancy where alcohol is safe to use nor a safe amount that can be used.
If Alcohol Affects the Fetus, What Can Be Done?
FASDs last a lifetime. There is no cure for FASDs. But early intervention can improve a child’s development. The CDC explains the extent of the effects of alcohol as permanent.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause lifelong physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities. (CDC)
Some doctors will not be able to spot the long-term effects when the child is born as the less severe effects, such as learning or behavior learning problems, won’t be noticeable until the child reaches school. If the mother drinks heavily, an ultrasound can detect severe problems before the baby is born. These ultrasounds must be ordered by the doctor, but the doctor will only order them if they know about the mother’s alcohol use. The ultrasound can detect heart defects or growth delays.
There is no treatment that can reverse the impact of alcohol on your baby’s health. And there’s no treatment that can make the effects less severe. Caring for a child born with alcohol effects takes patience. Help for your child may include extra support in school, social skills training, job training, and counseling. Community services may be able to help your family handle the costs of and emotions from raising your child. If you’re struggling with alcoholism, contact Allure Detox for a confidential treatment assessment.