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Pregnancy Health and Safety (Prenatal Care)
Fetal Development
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Alcohol Consumption During Pregnancy

Can drinking alcohol within two weeks of conception harm a fetus?

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2012-05-16 15:19:42
2012-05-16 15:19:42
Drinking Alcohol After ConceptionWouldn't it be nice if you heard "Ding! You Got Pregnant." You know, kind of like that annoying "you got mail" from AOL?

But, that biotechnology doesn't exist (not yet, anyway) and most mothers-to-be are oblivious that baby-making has begun until several weeks into it. In the meantime, they are apt to have done many things they wouldn't have done if only they had known.

Luckily, this is a concern that you can forget about. There's no evidence that a couple of drinks on a few occasions very early in pregnancy can influence harm on a developing embryo. So you, and others, can let this one go.

  • I apologize for interjecting here but you can't make a sweeping statement like "you and others can let this one go" when the question applies to social drinkers and hardcore alcoholics alike. The question posed doesn't say nor imply "a couple drinks" so you can't assume that EVERY reader only had "a couple drinks". Or, you can, but then the answer doesn't satisfy. I don't know the answer--I had this question myself when I came here--but this is the thousandth website I've looked at tonight where the answer is "relax, a couple drinks isn't gonna kill you". OK but what if I didn't just have a couple drinks but a LOT of drinks within two weeks of conception? I have this same question but for my case (where it was more like "a couple" every couple hours), then what?

That said, it's definitely time to change your choice of drinks. If you continue to drink regularly throughout your pregnancy, you risk a wide variety of problems in the baby, including Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Alcohol enters the fetal bloodstream in about the same concentrations present in the mother's blood. Meaning, each drink the mother takes is shared with the baby.

Here are answers and opinions from FAQ Farmers:

  • I was concerned about it, too! I was three weeks pregnant, didn't know it yet, had few glasses of wine and got a little drunk. When I found out I was pregnant it was the first thing I asked my doctor and he said that it was too early to harm my baby � which by that time was an embryo. Besides, by that time early in pregnancy, there is not yet nutrition from you to the baby through the placenta, so I heard.
  • Thanks to my best friend's bachelorette party, I had two 'binge' drinking episodes where I was completely drunk out of my mind before I knew I was pregnant (I was probably 2-4 weeks along.) My son is now 6-years-old and has no problems, nor did he as an infant. I hope this eases your mind. I know a TON of people who have had this same issue and their children are just fine. Obviously, don't CONTINUE to drink.
  • As I've heard that the embryo is feeding off of the yolk of the egg rather than getting nourishment from the placenta in the first 4 weeks, it probably shouldn't have much of an effect. I've also heard that drinking in the early weeks is more likely to result in miscarriage than FAS.

    It would be great if a doctor could interject here and tell us the risk of 2 or 2 big drinking sessions in the first few weeks (and maybe further the next few weeks before we knew we were pregnant). There is a lot of conflicting information out there, and the most common thing to happen is that someone comes in and says "you shouldn't drink at all, are you crazy?", well how many people know they are pregnant in the first few weeks? We are trying to manage the risk of what has already happened. None of us are going to continue drinking, so let's start from here.

  • Drinking during the first few weeks of pregnancy can harm your baby. The identifying facial features on a child with FAS are formed between day 18 and day 21 of gestation. Lets be clear that a glass of wine or a beer with a burger will probably not affect the baby but you can bet that binge drinking during that time can have a sever impact on the baby. If you continue to drink during pregnancy things will only get worse. Alcohol is pasted freely through the placenta to the baby. The baby has no liver or an under developed liver and can not process the alcohol. Therefore the alcohol poisons the child and can result in brain damage.
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From conception to birth.

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Yes.Drinking alcohol has been linked to conditions that can harm a fetus, or even cause a miscarriage. Yes, the foetus is another name for a baby growing in its mothers womb and alcohol can definitely kill it.

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Very unlikely this would have any effect on the baby if it was a few drinks and a one time thing only. However, alcohol can have serious effects on a fetus, specially in the first three months while the babies major organs are being formed, so it is usually recommended that pregnant woman not drink at all during pregnancy.

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It is a fact that drinking any alcohol during pregnancy can be harmful to the fetus.

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The jury is still out on that. At present there is no reason to believe that drinking by the father at the time of conception poses a threat to the fetus. However, drinking problems tend to be inherited, and there may well be problems later in life.


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