Pregnancy and Alcohol Effects Discussion

Alcohol is a potential health hazard to anyone, and many women are unaware of the risks of drinking alcohol before or during pregnancy. Even if they know that alcohol is not safe during pregnancy, they do not know the extent of its damage to them and their child. Many still believe the fact that a drink here or there will not affect the baby. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) continuously reports that one in four pregnant women takes alcohol during pregnancy. This is a severe threat concerning the health of the mother and the child.

Alcohol during pregnancy can cause potential danger both to the mother and the fetus. Even a small amount can reach the fetus through the placenta and cause congenital disabilities or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). FASD can affect a child even after birth. However, it is completely preventable if the mother does not consume any alcoholic drinks during pregnancy. Many health organizations like CDC and the American Congress for Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) consider no alcohol consumption to be safe during any trimester of pregnancy and recommend avoiding alcohol during conception and pregnancy.

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Drinking Alcohol during Pregnancy
There are many myths and facts concerning alcohol during pregnancy. Pregnancy is a period of continuous growth of the fetus, and alcohol can severely affect fetal health and life. Some facts about drinking alcohol during pregnancy are as follows:

Alcohol affects the health of both the mother and fetus.

There is no safe level or time for drinking alcohol during pregnancy or conception.

Consuming alcohol during conception can lead to miscarriages because, by the time a woman tests positive for pregnancy, she is already into four weeks of pregnancy.

Alcohol can still be dangerous during the first or last trimester or even during full-term because fetal growth is continuous.

Binge or casual drinking is not advisable during pregnancy. Binge drinking with five or more drinks at one time or taking over seven drinks a week is more dangerous.

Drinking even a few sips to mark any occasion or celebration can turn dangerous because each sip will reach the fetus through the placenta.

Damage to the fetus’ health because of alcohol does not only happen after birth or during childhood. Instead, it remains throughout the lifetime.

Even wine is not safe for drinking during pregnancy because any alcoholic drink will contain some alcohol percentage.

Drinking alcohol during lactation is also not safe because it can reach the child through breast milk.

Many factors like gestational age, maternal alcohol metabolic clearance rate, binge or casual drinking, other substances while drinking alcohol (like tobacco), and genetic components determine the individual side effects caused by alcohol during pregnancy.


Alcohol consumption during pregnancy leads to many pregnancies and childbirth issues. It results in lifelong physical, intellectual, and behavioral disabilities in the child. The various pregnancy and birth issues are as follows:

Fetal growth defects and congenital anomalies.

Developmental delays and disorders and behavioral problems.

Low birth weight requires neonatal intensive care, which can even risk the survival of the newborn.

Preterm delivery results in the delivery of the baby before 37 weeks.

Delivery of newborn with developmental disabilities leading to health issues in later part of life.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Stillbirth resulting in loss of pregnancy and newborn.

In addition, health issues in the mother due to alcohol consumption includes hypertension leading to preeclampsia, obesity, cardiovascular problems, gestational diabetes, anxiety, mood disorders, and confusion. Many organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) help pregnant mothers to stop drinking alcohol.

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