Pregnancy and alcohol
- Alcohol harms a fetus’s development.
- A woman who is sexually active and drinks alcohol must use effective contraception.
- No level of alcohol consumption is safe for a woman who is pregnant or may become pregnant.
How is a fetus affected by alcohol?
The damage to a fetus’s development during pregnancy depends on:
- The amount of alcohol consumed during the pregnancy;
- The point when alcohol is consumed during the pregnancy;
- The number of times that the fetus is exposed to alcohol during the pregnancy;
- How the mother’s body reacts to alcohol;
- How the fetus reacts to alcohol;
- The mother’s drug, medication, or tobacco use in addition to alcohol use;
- Exposure to x-rays, mercury, or certain other chemicals;
- Certain genetic factors of the mother or fetus.
Alcohol harms a fetus’s development. Mothers must not drink alcohol during pregnancy. No amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy.
- A fetus’ brain develops throughout pregnancy; there is no safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy.
- All types of alcohol harm the fetus (e.g. beer, wine, alcoholic drinks).
- Alcohol consumption is very dangerous to the fetus.
Here are the possible consequences of alcohol consumption during pregnancy:
- Child born with FASD;
- Miscarriage or stillbirth;
- Premature newborn or low birth weight baby;
- Permanent brain damage;
- Learning, memory, reasoning, and judgment problems;
- Vision or hearing problems;
- Slow growth;
- Birth defects (such as deformed bones or heart problems).
So why do women or girls drink alcohol during pregnancy?
- They don’t know they’re pregnant.
- They don’t know that alcohol is dangerous to a fetus.
- They underestimate the harm caused by alcohol since they know other women who drank during pregnancy whose children seem healthy.
- Drinking is the norm among their friends and it’s difficult for them to say no.
- They may drink to cope with difficult life circumstances such as violence, depression, poverty, or isolation.
- They may have an addiction to alcohol.
If a woman who just learned that she’s pregnant has drunk alcohol, what must she do?
More than half of women drink alcohol before knowing they’re pregnant.
If a women learns that she’s pregnant, she must stop drinking as soon as possible and look after her health.
- If a woman drinks alcohol before knowing that she’s pregnant, she must speak to her doctor or nurse.
- If a pregnant woman is unable to stop drinking during her pregnancy, she must ask her doctor or nurse what support and services are available to help her.
- Non-alcoholic beer must be avoided. Some of these beers contain more alcohol than indicated on the label.
If a woman is pregnant or may become pregnant, she must not drink alcohol.
Is there a safe time to drink during pregnancy?
The fetus is developing through the nine months of pregnancy. Alcohol harms its development throughout the pregnancy.
No amount of alcohol is safe. If a woman is pregnant or planning a pregnancy, she must not drink alcohol.
Can a breastfeeding mom drink alcohol?
A breastfeeding mom must not drink alcohol since it will enter her breast milk. The baby’s brain is growing even after birth.
What can a pregnant woman who thinks she may have an addiction problem do?
It’s never too late to ask for help in stopping drinking.
A woman who reduces her alcohol consumption or stops completely at any point during her pregnancy will help her baby.
A woman who is having difficulty controlling her alcohol consumption or stopping drinking can ask for help from: