Whether it is allowed to drink alcohol during pregnancy is a question that women who have decided to become mothers often ask their doctor. Despite the fact that the use of alcohol in modern society is considered the norm, alcohol and pregnancy – “things are not compatible”. This axiom, as they say, “is written in blood”, and the problem of “alcohol and procreation” has worried the best minds of mankind at all times.

In ancient Carthage there was a law prohibiting the use of wine during the days of adultery, and two thousand years ago Plutarch expressed his attitude to alcohol during pregnancy in a winged phrase – a drunkard gives birth to drunkards. Modern myths about the harmlessness of small doses of alcohol during pregnancy, if it is a weak drink – dry wine, champagne, fundamentally incorrect and harmful. Women who are pregnant must know that at all stages of pregnancy it is an absolute taboo.

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The prohibition of alcohol during pregnancy is a cruel necessity.

An overwhelming number of physicians agree that the use of alcohol during pregnancy is unacceptable from the first days. They explain this by the fact that every glass of alcoholic beverage a pregnant woman “drinks” with her unborn child and digests it together with him. Therefore, it is worth putting alcohol under an absolute ban for expectant mothers even at the stage of pregnancy planning. Ideally, this rule applies to both parents.

Drinking alcohol when pregnant is already taking place is criminal in relation to both oneself and the unborn child, because its negative effects have an impact on both of them. This applies even to single doses of alcohol, not to mention the intake on a permanent basis, which can be a provocation for premature birth or miscarriage. Since some cold remedies are alcohol-containing (up to 25%), even their purchase by future mothers is recommended with caution.

The first trimester – what are the dangers of taking alcohol

The myth that in the first trimester of pregnancy alcohol cannot harm the future baby is extremely dangerous. They motivate this statement by the fact that in the early terms, while the placenta is not formed, he does not receive nutrition from the mother. But even a small amount of alcohol in the blood can interrupt pregnancy, not allowing the egg to set in the uterus.

But even after the embryo has set, the dangers of alcohol in early pregnancy are not diminished. It is fraught with severe consequences in the development of the fetus, causing physiological deformities, mental retardation, a frozen pregnancy. At the end of the first month the baby’s heart begins to beat, in the first two months its nervous system is laid down – the use of alcohol during pregnancy at this stage puts the embryo at additional risk. The development of alcohol syndrome even with 3-4 small doses of alcohol is confirmed by many studies.

The second trimester – what a pregnant woman should be aware of

During pregnancy in the 2nd trimester, alcohol does not become less dangerous for the fetus. With the development of various systems of the body, the field for its negative impact on the future child also expands. For example, its intake can lead to malfunctions in the formation of the respiratory system and cause premature birth. Besides this, it is worth bearing in mind that drinking alcohol while pregnant in the second trimester increases the risk of giving birth to an underweight child by 68%.

Going to have a glass of alcohol-containing drink, a pregnant woman should remember that it causes irreparable harm by slowing down the development of the child’s joints. Therefore, it is almost guaranteed that the baby may have problems with motor function in the future. From the 13th week to the 27th week, the baby is actively growing, his liver, lungs and hearing organs are formed – their correct formation is threatened by failures in case of taking alcohol.

The third trimester – important developmental milestones

Is it possible to drink alcohol during pregnancy – let every expectant mother answer for herself, finding out what consequences can entail a harmful habit. At the later stages of pregnancy, taking alcohol-containing drinks with a probability greater than 50% can cause

  • Delayed intrauterine development;
  • malformations of the cardiovascular system;
  • missing fingers, hypoplasia;
  • Craniofacial anomalies – formation of narrow eyes, low forehead;
  • defects in the formation of the anus, genitourinary system;
  • Abnormal development of the upper and lower extremities;
  • joint dysplasia;
  • abnormalities in the development of the nail plate.

A consequence of constant consumption of alcohol during pregnancy can be the development of fetal embryopathy. All of these serious defects are possible due to the fact that alcohol during pregnancy is absorbed into the blood of the developing fetus, easily crossing the placental barrier.

Effects on the embryo and child development

The negative impact of alcohol on pregnancy can cause irreparable harm to the baby’s health, not only in the period of inception of his body, but also to manifest itself in serious complications after the birth. For example, the use of alcoholic beverages for the newborn baby may be fraught with:

  • Facial deformities, manifestation of defects in physical development;
  • Behavioral abnormalities;
  • defects in thinking and speech, the presence of low muscle tone and immunity;
  • serious coordination and concentration disorders, resulting in a child having difficulty remembering information and learning in the future.

In addition, the result of taking alcohol during pregnancy may be a lack or improper development of compensatory mechanisms, the violation of the process of adaptation in children. The negative effects of alcohol may not manifest themselves immediately, but make themselves felt, for example, only at a transitional age.

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What is fetal alcohol syndrome

The gravest consequence of the fact that the expectant mother drank alcohol during pregnancy can become fetal alcohol syndrome. This diagnosis is characterized by the presence of abnormalities of different nature in the baby. Abnormalities are the result of exposure of the fetus to substances containing ethanol.

The embryo has insufficient protection to withstand such exposure, resulting in the following abnormalities:

  • Significantly lower fetal parameters before birth, as well as after birth. Subsequently, a child with this syndrome is usually behind his peers in growth, weight.
  • Abnormal formation of brain endings or mental abnormalities.
  • Defects in the face and body, malformations can be associated with both muscular and bone system.

There is no mistaking the presence of alcohol syndrome “wolf’s mouth”, “harelip”, flat wide nose bridge, small eye slit, impaired coordination after birth.

Alcohol exposure pathways and possible consequences

To understand why you can not drink alcohol during pregnancy, it is important to understand the mechanism of exposure to alcoholic beverages on the development and condition of the developing embryo. On the fetus has a damaging effect as the alcohol itself, contained in such drinks, and the products of its decay, for example, acetaldehyde. Ethanol causes vasospasm of the umbilical cord and placenta, reducing the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the fetus.

Acetaldehyde negatively affects fetal cells, damaging the genetic material, which later causes various deformities.

Alcohol contained in drinks disrupts the metabolism of vitamins, hormones in fetal organs and tissues. The central nervous system is particularly sensitive to its effects, which subsequently leads to behavioral and intellectual abnormalities in the child, which may appear at different ages.

Permissible doses of alcohol during pregnancy

Ladies who are used to traditionally taking alcohol at lunch or dinner on a regular basis often wonder why they would have to give it up while carrying a baby. They usually do not believe in the necessity of a complete renunciation and ask their doctor how much alcohol can be consumed during pregnancy over a certain period. Without a doubt, the answer of responsible and qualified professionals is always unambiguous – none at all. Because when a pregnant woman drinks, so does her baby.

Of course, the line of her behavior during pregnancy is determined by the woman herself – the doctor can only give strong recommendations. And she decides how to treat the myth that it is quite acceptable to drink a couple of glasses of wine or champagne a week. However, experts are categorical – it has nothing to do with real life, because drinks contain alcohol and should be prohibited.

Can you drink regular and non-alcoholic beer?

Women who decide for themselves the dilemma of what alcohol and in what doses of alcohol during pregnancy is allowed, often stop at the choice of beer. This is a popular drink, which is considered less dangerous because of its low alcohol content. However, during pregnancy beer is no less dangerous than other alcoholic beverages. The use of even weak alcoholic drinks leads to the birth of a child with brain anomalies, kidney failure, and vascular pathologies.

Alcohol in any dose penetrates through placenta to embryo, affecting tissues, organs, nervous system of unborn child. The use of non-alcoholic beer is fully applicable. It is harmful to the health of the unborn child even though it contains no alcohol. The flavor of ordinary beer in it is achieved by the addition in large quantities of dyes and special additives, preservatives, which are carcinogens.

What can replace alcohol with?

After receiving a definite negative answer to the question whether alcohol during pregnancy, women who were used to relax and relieve stress with a glass of wine or beer before conception, should replace this habit for the period of carrying the fetus, for example, by listening to calm music, taking a warm bath, massaging, light exercise or even sex. Your favorite alcohol in pregnancy should be replaced by non-alcoholic beverages.

For example, “Bloody Mary” with health benefits can be replaced by a cocktail “Virgin Mary” (tomato juice with celery). An excellent substitute for champagne would be a carbonated siphon morsel. Instead of alcohol, stop for a non-alcoholic mojito. It is worth to take as allies on the way to sobriety your husband and close relatives. However, if it is not possible to get rid of cravings for alcohol by such measures, the way out may be to resort to a psychotherapist for help.

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