Early pregnancy alcohol consumption has been found to have an impact on embryo/fetal development. So to answer the question: “How much alcohol is OK in pregnancy” – the simple answer is that alcohol + pregnancy just don’t mix.
All the research on alcohol + pregnancy has not been able to establish what is a “safe amount of alcohol in pregnancy”. As little as half a glass of wine every day has been found to harm embryo/fetal development. This little embryo/ fetus continues to develop into YOUR little baby.
“Teratogen” is the name given to those substances (agents) that cause damage to the foetus/ growing baby. The word comes form the Greek “teraton” – which means “monster” – and there is no way you want to create a little monster for yourself to care for later e.g nicotine is linked to infants/children who develop Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). I’m not saying that every one who smokes in pregnancy is going to end up with a baby with ADD – but I know you don’t want to take that risk. You want a healthy happy baby.
Why is it important to understand the importance of the effects of alcohol and other drugs in pregnancy??? Simply because all these drugs (alcohol and nicotine included) are likely to have an effect particularly on your baby’s developing brain and nervous system. Even as much as half a drink a day has been found to effect some baby’s brain development …They may be born prematurely, they may be smaller than expected with a small head size. Maybe you can’t see any disadvantages in that, but these babies can end up being slow learners, and have trouble learning to connect with other people. This is not what you want for your baby … people making fun of them because they are slow to catch on, because they have trouble learning things??
Some people think that it is only in pregnancy first trimester that you have to avoid these drugs, but research has shown that using these drugs throughout all the trimesters – has an effect.
You may be concerned that you didn’t know you were drinking during pregnancy – you didn’t know that you were pregnant – all you can do is do what you can do from today, and give your baby the best chance from today. This pregnancy is going to change your life. Every day you will make choices that affect your baby, and what I know is that you will “step up” to each challenge. That is what having a baby means – your whole life takes on more meaning. You will have seen those mothers and their partners who have “stepped up”, and faced the challenges, and now they have a family that gives them so much joy, love and happiness – a family they love to belong to. You can do the same … I know it!!!
So now you are aware of the risks of early alcohol pregnancy consumption, and in fact consumption of alcohol throughout your pregnancy – you are better able to make choices to give your baby the best start in life.