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Alcohol Use in Pregnancy: Lots of Risks, Little Reward

What do we know about alcohol use during pregnancy? It’s not good for the baby. Risks range from low birth weight to pre-term delivery to developmental and cognitive disabilities for your unborn child. To be clear, there is no known safe:

  • Amount to drink during pregnancy
  • Time to drink during pregnancy
  • Type of alcohol to drink during pregnancy

If you’ve ever heard a rumor that drinking wine or beer only during pregnancy was fine or that as long as you drank during a certain trimester that there would be no effect on the baby – don’t believe it. The Centers for Disease Control absolutely do not recommend that you drink while you are pregnant at any time or for any reason. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders (FASDs) are entirely preventable – if you don’t drink, you don’t risk hurting your child.

What Alcohol Can Do to Your Child

What exactly are FASDs and how do they affect your child? Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is not a single illness but a term that encompasses a spectrum of disorders that affect children and are directly caused by the mother drinking during pregnancy. It can mean any number of symptoms, problems, or disorders for your child, ranging from mild to severe, including:

  • Low birth weight
  • Below average statistics (e.g., head circumference, weight, height, etc)
  • Learning disabilities, including speech and language delays
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Lack of focus, memory, coordination, reasoning, and/ or cognitive ability
  • Physical problems, including facial abnormalities, vision and hearing problems, heart problems, kidney disorders, and bone issues

Is It Worth the Risk?

New studies occasionally come out that say that a mild or moderate amount of alcohol intake is likely harmless to a child. But is it worth the risk? The problem is that while one drink may not cause harm to one mother’s child, the result may be completely different for another mother’s child. Also, one drink almost always leads to two… and then three…. Judgment is impaired when you are under the influence and you may be more likely to take other chances despite the potential risks to your growing child: unprotected sex, driving while under the influence, et cetera.

In the end, a lifetime of difficulties for you and for your child can be avoided if you choose not to drink while you are pregnant. But if you are struggling with an alcohol abuse or addiction disorder, it’s not something you can just decide to do. If you need help staying clean and sober during your pregnancy, contact us today at The Orchid and learn more about the programs we have in place that can help you to protect your health and the health of your baby.

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