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

Will it harm the baby if the mother gets drunk before she knows she is pregnant?

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βˆ™ 2009-09-30 01:03:53

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I am not a Dr., but I think it unlikely that any long term effect occurred. I was born in 1959, and my mother drank every day during the pregnancy, as did many women in that time period before the effects of fetal alcohol were widely known. I do believe that drinking over the course of the pregnancy might make your child more likely to be an alcoholic, as steady intake of alcohol during pregnancy would create a need. As well, there might be a withdrawal upon birth, so it is better to avoid alcohol during pregnancy other than in small amounts. My wife drank alcohol free beer such as Kaliber, O'Douls Amber and so on during her pregnancy.

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I had a very wild night a few days before I realised I was pregnant. My doctor said not to worry; if it had any effect on the fetal development, it probably would have caused a miscarrage. There is an increeced risk of serious birth defects and a slight chance of Fetal Alchol Syndrome....but most people either miscarry in their first trimester, or deliver healthy babies. I'm at 35 weeks now, and all my tests/ultrasounds look positive.

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I am a doctor, and I can tell you that both of these answers are incorrect. The fact is, all of the studies show you can never be sure how much is too much. Some women are able to drink through all 9 months and have a perfectly healthy child. Some drink moderate amounts, and end of with a baby who is affected with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which can include not only heart, brain and eye defects but severe mental retardation and behavioral problems. This is why they say " There is no ok amount of alcohol for a pregnant woman". Because we can not predict who will have a problem with a small amount of alcohol and who wont, it is always best to not drink during pregnancy. Additionally, it is not true that if you do the damage early on, you will automatically miscarry. In fact, several women with FAS children only drank until the time they knew they were pregnant, and not any after that. As for making a child an alcoholic, that is likely more associated with what has now been determined to be a genetic predisposition to Alcoholism, not because the child was exposed to alcohol in utero. The main point is this..... is a drinking alcohol for 9 months worth dealing with all of the possible medical and behavioral complications for the rest of your child's life?

2009-09-30 01:03:53
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