Alcohol during pregnancy is a strict no-no. Even if you want to take a sip, cheered on by your friends, it is the safest to not consume any amount of alcohol when you are pregnant. Medically, no amount of alcohol has been proven to be safe for consumption when one is pregnant.
(CDC behavioral risk factor surveillance system, USA, 2011-2013)
- Alcohol breakdown enzymes
The number of such enzymes (alcohol dehydrogenase), also called ADH, vary from person to person and body to body. In a person with a low amount of these enzymes, the alcohol does not complete breakdown, and circulates through the body, exposing the fetus to the greater probability of harm. If the enzyme level is high, alcohol is metabolized quickly and the probability of fetal harm is brought down.
- Child disorders
As per the advice of the U.S. Surgeon General and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, any amount of alcohol consumed during pregnancy is dangerous. They opine that women who indulge in alcohol during pregnancy are at a higher risk of giving birth to babies with FASD (Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder). The symptoms can be characterized by small head, learning disabilities, speech impediments among others.
When you are pregnant, you may be on certain medications, for example, antidepressants. If the medications react with alcohol and lead to side-effects, then your fetus may be harmed, leading to birth defects.
- Liver disease as medical history
If you have liver disease as your medical history, alcohol intake during pregnancy can lead to grave complications, which may lead to fetal harm.
- Premature birth
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy puts your fetus at a greater risk of premature birth. Premature birth is defined as a birth before 3-7 weeks of pregnancy. This may have serious health implications on the fetus during birth and also later in life.
Alcohol intake during pregnancy puts you at serious risk of miscarriage. Miscarriage is when fetal death occurs on or before 20 weeks. Alcohol-related miscarriage has been known to occur.
This is another life-threatening event for the fetus in case of alcohol consumption by the mother during pregnancy. In this case, the foetus dies after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
- Heart defects of the fetus
Alcohol intake during pregnancy by the mother can lead to a child being born with heart disease, which may affect the child’s life adversely during his or her entire lifetime.
All these are serious risks associated with drinking alcohol during pregnancy, and thus it must be avoided at all costs.
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