If you are expecting or think you might be, remember “only you can prevent” fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. The excitement and joy you feel when announcing the good news could be short-lived if after delivery your newborn faces a preventable medical battle. Why risk your baby’s development by drinking during pregnancy?
Although FASD is rare, with less than 200,000 U.S. cases per year, that’s 200,000 too many for babies born with irreversible health problems. New 2018 research reported in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that 3.1% to 9.9% of children throughout the U.S. have a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
Why refrain from drinking while pregnant?
Expectant moms know that nutrition is so important for the growth of their child, but adding alcohol is a bad combination.
- Alcohol is more concentrated in the fetus, which prevents good nutrition and oxygen from getting to the baby’s vital organs.
- Damage can be done in the first few weeks of pregnancy when a woman might not know she is pregnant.
- The risk increases if the mother is a heavy drinker.
Research from The National Institute of Health, World Health Organization and the CDC report that significant issues can result from drinking alcohol while pregnant including miscarriage, stillbirth and many potential birth defects if the child survives, as stated in a 2019 Alcohol.org article.
What are the signs and symptoms of FASDs?
The list is long on FASD health-related conditions that can affect each child differently. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, including:
- Small head size
- Decreased growth in the fetus and later in childhood
- Shorter-than-average height
- Low body weight
- Poor coordination
- Hyperactive behavior
- Poor memory
- Difficulty with attention
- Difficulty in school
- Learning disabilities
- Speech and language delay
- Vision and hearing problems
- Problems with the heart, kidneys or bones
What’s the harm?
- According to The Centers for Disease Control, there is no safe time to drink throughout pregnancy, including before a woman knows she’s pregnant.
- A woman could get pregnant and not know for up to 4 to 6 weeks.
- The CDC advises that all types of alcohol are equally harmful, including all wines and beer.
- If you are pregnant and drinking alcohol, it’s not too late to stop.
- Because brain growth takes place throughout pregnancy, the sooner you quit the safer it will be for you and your baby.
Why risk it?
Your baby’s health, as well as your own, are at risk. Please don’t take a chance and drink while pregnant. If you are addicted to alcohol, ask for help. Talk with your (Ob-Gyn) or other health professional about your drinking habits. Alcoholics Anonymous also offers information and resources on its website.
Mom and baby deserve the best in health, happiness and an alcohol-free pregnancy safeguards for a great start for your newborn.
The Information on this site is intended to raise awareness and understanding of specific health issues. It should not be used for diagnosis or a substitute for health care by your physician.