Alcohol and Pregnancy Do Not Mix
Given all the research that's been done on the subject, and all the warnings and public service announcements, it's an amazing yet disturbing fact: Hundreds of pregnant women continue to consume alcohol, despite what they know this could do to the child. So let's say it one more time: There is no amount of alcohol that is safe to drink when you're pregnant!
Any woman who drinks might as well be handing the glass or can to the baby, because when she drinks, so does the unborn child. Alcohol first goes into the mother's digestive system but then also passes to the baby via the placenta. The end result is that the baby that is born has a greater chance of being born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (or "FASD"). These disorders cover the whole spectrum of birth defects that pregnancy drinking causes. These effects will last for the life of the child, and cannot be reversed. However, they are totally preventable if the mother abstains from alcohol.
Alcohol is what is known as a "teratogen." This means it's a substance that is damaging to human development. It damages your baby's development because it actually crosses the placenta, which means it literally gets passed on to your baby. This means that any drink which contains alcohol can be potentially harmful to the child. No amount of alcohol is safe for him or her.
Remember that during the nine months that your child is inside you, he or she is always growing and developing. Your baby's central nervous system, heart, arms, legs and eyes develop in the first four weeks. Around the third weeks, the brain starts developing. Then in the third trimester, the baby grows at an astounding rate. When you drink during pregnancies, you are interfering with all of these crucial processes. If you drink excessively or take part in binge drinking, this can cause Fetal Alcohol Effects or full-blown Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. These will likely cause deep, negative effects that will cause problems for the child for his / her entire life. You cannot reverse these effects!
What about the woman who did not know she was pregnant, yet kept drinking alcohol? In that case, she needs to stop drinking immediately. Each day that she drinks increases the chances of a negative effect on the child. She lessens the chances of some problem by quitting immediately.
What if the woman is addicted? Then she needs to immediately find help for that addiction, lest she put her child in danger. There are resources available for her. One is the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information. Call them at (800) 729-6686. Another is the National Alcohol and Drug HotLine at (800) 622-6686. And to get more information on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, call (800) 666-6327 to reach the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. For those who are addicted, it will be a difficult journey. But remember, it's a journey you take for the benefit of your unborn child.