Drinking While Pregnant. What Are the Dangers?

CASE STUDY: Amanda in Berkshire
“It was only the odd drink,” Amanda explained, two years after giving birth. “A chilled glass of wine after work, usually – served in a small glass. I thought, what harm could it do? It’s not as if I was secretly binge drinking at home seven nights per week, or always going out on the town with my girlfriends. I’d have a wine on a Friday night, and then perhaps at home on a Saturday or Sunday evening while unwinding in front of the television.”

The harm Amanda’s drinking caused to her baby, Tobias, was in fact HUGE
Specialists have predicted that, due to damage to Tobias’s brain as a result of the alcohol in Amanda’s bloodstream while pregnant, even with the very best care and learning therapy treatment available (which Amanda and her husband Giles, a stockbroker, could easily afford), Tobias’s mental age is unlikely to ever develop past the age of five.

And all because his mother simply couldn’t resist “the odd drink”

Amanda is a Cambridge graduate and runs her own PR Company, with offices in London and Manchester. And she hadn’t heard of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome? She didn’t she know that imbibing just a tiny volume of alcohol can potentially damage a foetus?

“Of course I had. But I thought I’d be OK. If I am honest, I thought Foetal Alcohol Syndrome would happen to some other poor soul at the antenatal classes – not me.”

A syndrome that doesn’t discriminate
“Female intuition being what it is, Amanda knew immediately after giving birth that something wasn’t quite right,” Giles explains. “You’ll find that most mothers in her position usually do. To be perfectly honest, birth defects caused through a mother drinking while pregnant is something we’ve always associated with a different social group to ours, a different social class, if you like.”

Problems are not always obvious
Despite the irrefutable power of female intuition, the way an unborn child is affected when their mother drinks alcoholic while pregnant is not always immediately apparent. While there may not be any obvious physical birth defects or deformities; as the infant grows, consequences of alcohol having been in its mother’s blood (freely crossing the placenta and entering the embryo or foetus through the umbilical cord) while she was pregnant can include:1

Difficulty eating and sleeping
Delayed speech
Learning disabilities
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Lower IQ

And also:

Mental retardation
Poor coordination
Behaviour problems
Poor ability to control impulses, and
Problems getting along with other children

(Source: The Third Age.com)

Children don’t outgrow these effects. Teens and adults often experience social and emotional problems. They may develop secondary conditions, which include:

Problems at school and college
Inability to hold down a job
Trouble living independently
Mental health problems
Alcohol or drug dependence
Anxiety disorders
Difficulty controlling anger, and
Legal problems

(Source: The Third Age.com)

But what if you don’t even know you’re pregnant?
Every year across the UK, unplanned pregnancies occur in their thousands. You could be enjoying glass after glass of wine or beer, and not even know the potential damage you’re doing to your unborn child.

Does that mean your baby will almost certainly be born with mental of physical defects?

It depends upon when the foetus was exposed to alcohol, but disturbances (both physical and psychological/cognitive) to the unborn child could occur from alcohol use during any time in pregnancy.

The bottom line is:
There is no known safe amount of alcohol that a woman can drink while pregnant. Whenever and however much she drinks, the chances of her becoming another victim of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (or even having a spontaneous abortion) are significantly increased.

If you are pregnant and finding an alcohol-free existence tough, stay strong and be proud of yourself for not putting your unborn child at risk of growth deficiencies, learning disabilities, and behavioural problems.

Advice on how to do that
We’ll leave the last word to Amanda: “My advice to any mothers-to-be out there who are perhaps craving alcohol and finding it a struggle to resist, is to: stay out of the pub; avoid social occasions where alcohol will be present; and don’t keep alcohol at home. Otherwise, you could end up like Giles and I, with a child we adore, but whose mental age will never develop beyond the age of five, however long he lives.”

If you’re worried about the subjects raised in the article contact Rehab Treatment now for free impartial advice and help.


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B. Middlesex

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