Can pregnant women drink wine

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Can pregnant women drink wine

If you drink alcohol, so does your baby. It doesn’t matter if you drink beer, wine or other forms of liquor. Once in your bloodstream, alcohol passes through the placenta to your baby. Sustained drinking during pregnancy increases your risk of miscarriage and fetal death. It can also cause permanent damage to your baby.

Can pregnant women drink wine
Can pregnant women drink wine

Fetal alcohol syndrome is the most serious problem caused by excessive alcohol consumption. It can cause such birth defects as facial deformities, heart problems, low birth weight and mental retardation. Babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome may also have permanent growth problems, experience short attention spans and learning disabilities and have behavioral problems. As soon as you know you’re pregnant, don’t drink alcohol. If you’re planning to get pregnant, it’s a good idea to stop drinking beforehand (see HOW CAN I CUT DOWN ON MY DRINKING WINE WHILE PREGNANT ?). Alcohol exposure can cause birth defects in the early weeks of your pregnancy, before you may know you’re carrying a child.

Once your child is born, small amounts of alcohol can wind up in breast milk and be passed on to your baby through your milk. Therefore, it’s best to abstain from alcohol use until you’re finished breast-feeding.

Can pregnant women drink wine
Can pregnant women drink wine

Caution

  • Driving and drinking is dangerous at any time, but when you are pregnant, the risk to your baby increases one hundred-fold. If you are in an accident while pregnant, you run the risk of injuring the fetus.
  • The risk of miscarriage is increased two to four-fold in women who drink. If someone were to have four drinks a day, approximately 30% of the babies born would have fetal alcohol syndrome. Another 30% would show some prenatal toxic effect.

Can I have a drink during pregnancy, or not?

Can pregnant women drink wine
Can pregnant women drink wine

Until recently, pregnant women were given the official thumbs up to indulge in one or two drinks a couple of times a week. This always seemed a pretty reasonable allowance – after all, supping on the occasional glass of Merlot at the end of a long, hard day spent lugging around a big belly in the interests of procreation whilst selflessly coping with about a hundred and one unpleasant pregnancy symptoms, is hardly the action of a reckless deviant intent on causing harm to her baby.

However, in 2007, the government revised its recommendations on drinking in pregnancy, adopting the mantra that pregnant women, or women trying to conceive, should avoid alcohol altogether. Why? Well, the truth is that doctors still aren’t completely sure how much alcohol is safe to drink in pregnancy. But they know that women are drinking more heavily in general these days, that measures are bigger, and that many drinks are stronger. Hence, they’ve decided to hedge their bets with advice to ‘play it safe’ and abstain altogether.

Can pregnant women drink wine
Can pregnant women drink wine

They do know that alcohol passes from a woman’s blood stream into her baby’s through the placenta, and that excessive drinking could definitely be harmful. Babies born to women who drink heavily during pregnancy – in other words, anyone downing more than six units a day – are at significant risk of being born with a condition called Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, which can cause facial deformities, restricted growth, and learning and behavioural difficulties. It will also increase your risk of:

 

  • Having a miscarriage (during the first trimester).
  • Your baby’s organs, nervous system and growth being affected.
  • Premature birth, or a low birth weight (which means they are more vulnerable to infections and other health problems).
  • Your baby being more susceptible to illness later in life.
  • Suffering a stillbirth.

    Can pregnant women drink wine
    Can pregnant women drink wine

On the face of it, this new advice is pretty bad news for women who find it hard to face the possibility of 40 entirely dry weeks (not to mention the subsequent prolonged period of sobriety required for breastfeeding). Fortunately, however, all the official bodies go on to point out there is no evidence that light drinking during pregnancy is harmful, and say that, for women who do choose to drink, a ‘safe amount’ is one or two units, no more than once or twice a week – in other words, exactly what the guidelines used to be.

Of course, some women find that just having one or two glasses simply leaves them yearning to finish the whole bottle and decide they’d rather cut it out altogether. But if, like me, you feel that a once or twice weekly glass of the aforementioned Merlot is better than nowt, then go ahead. And don’t feel guilty about it.

Optional Video :How Much Alcohol Can A Pregnant Woman Drink?