Posts Tagged ‘alcohol during pregnancy’

Pregnant? Drinking alcohol is not worth the risk to your baby

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

alcoholThere is NO safe amount of alcohol to drink during pregnancy and there is NO safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or think you might be pregnant, the best thing to do for your baby is to avoid alcohol.

When you drink alcohol during pregnancy, the alcohol in your blood quickly passes through the placenta and the umbilical cord to your baby. According to the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS), “When you drink alcohol, so does your developing baby. Any amount of alcohol, even the alcohol in one glass of wine, passes through the placenta from the mother to the growing baby. Developing babies lack the ability to process or metabolize alcohol through the liver or other organs.”

Drinking any amount of alcohol at any time during pregnancy can harm your baby’s developing brain and other organs. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy increases your baby’s chances of:

  • Premature birth. This is when your baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Premature babies may have serious health problems at birth and later in life.
  • Brain damage and problems with growth and development.
  • Birth defects, like heart defects, hearing problems or vision problems.
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (also called FASDs). Children with FASDs may have a range of problems, including intellectual and developmental disabilities. They also may have problems or delays in physical development. FASDs usually last a lifetime.
  • Low birthweight (also called LBW). This is when a baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces. Being low birthweight can cause serious health problems for some babies.
  • Miscarriage.
  • Stillbirth.

The good news is that FASD is entirely preventable. If you stop drinking alcohol before and during pregnancy, you can prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) and other conditions caused by alcohol.

Remember, there is no safe amount, no safe time, and no safe alcohol during pregnancy. If you need help to stop drinking, talk to your health care provider. And if you are looking for some fun, non-alcoholic alternatives, check these out.

Questions? Email AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

What you need to know about birth defects

Monday, January 18th, 2016

snugglingEvery 4 ½ minutes in the US, a baby is born with a birth defect. That means that nearly 120,000 (or 1 in every 33) babies are affected by birth defects each year. They are a leading cause of death in the first year of life, causing one in every five infant deaths and they lead to $2.6 billion per year in hospital costs alone in the United States.

What are birth defects?

Birth defects are health conditions that are present at birth. They change the shape or function of one or more parts of the body and can affect any part of the body (such as the heart, brain, foot, etc). They may affect how the body looks, works, or both.

There are thousands of different birth defects and they can be very mild or very severe. Some do not require any treatment, while others may require surgery or lifelong medical interventions.

What causes birth defects?

We know what causes certain birth defects. For instance, drinking alcohol while you are pregnant can cause your baby to be born with  physical birth defects and mental impairment. And genetic conditions, such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell disease, are the result of inheriting a mutation (change) in a single gene. However, we do not know what causes the majority of birth defects. In most cases, it is a number of complex factors. The interaction of multiple genes, personal behaviors, and our environment all may all play a role.

Can we prevent birth defects?

Most birth defects cannot be prevented. But there are some things that a woman can do before and during pregnancy to increase her chance of having a healthy baby:

  • See your healthcare provider before pregnancy and start prenatal care as soon as you think you’re pregnant.
  • Get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day. Folic acid reduces the chance of having a baby with a neural tube defect.
  • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and “street” drugs.
  • Talk to your provider about any medications you are taking, including prescription and over-the-counter medications and any dietary or herbal supplements. Talk to your provider before you start or stop taking any type of medications.
  • Prevent infections during pregnancy. Wash your hands and make sure your vaccinations are up to date.
  • Make sure chronic medical conditions are under control, before pregnancy. Some conditions, like diabetes and obesity, may increase the risk for birth defects.
  • Learn about your family health history.

Have questions? Email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Is a glass of wine OK?

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

Contemplative womanThere is no amount of alcohol that is proven to be safe during pregnancy. All types of alcohol are equally harmful for your baby, including wine, beer, wine coolers and mixed drinks. When you drink, the same amount of alcohol that is in your blood is also in your baby’s blood. The alcohol in your blood quickly passes through the placenta and to your baby through the umbilical cord.

Alcohol can seriously harm your baby’s development. It can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) which include a wide range of physical and mental disabilities and lifelong emotional and behavioral problems in a child. It can also cause miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth.

If you were drinking alcohol before you knew you were pregnant, the most important thing is that you completely stop drinking after learning of your pregnancy. The sooner you stop drinking, the better off you and your baby will be.

If you have been drinking alcohol during pregnancy, it is never too late to stop. Your baby’s brain is growing throughout pregnancy, so the sooner you stop drinking the safer it will be for your baby. If you are having trouble stopping, help is available. Talk to your doctor or find a professional in your area using the Substance Abuse and Treatment Facility Locator. Or, for more information about how to stop drinking, visit us here.

MargaritaSeptember 9th is International FASD Awareness Day, and this year, NOFAS (the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) is dedicating the month of September to raising awareness.

Help us get the word out: FASDs are completely preventable if a woman does not drink alcohol during pregnancy. Read about Taylor’s personal struggle with FASD here.

Remember, if you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, do not drink alcohol. And don’t smoke or take any drugs or medications without talking to your provider first. Be sure to get regular prenatal care and tell your health care provider about any concerns you may have.

Email or text us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org with your questions.

 

International FASD awareness day is today

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

FASD awareness dayFASDs or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, are a group of conditions that can happen to your baby when you drink alcohol during your pregnancy.

There is no known safe level of alcohol during pregnancy. When you drink alcohol during pregnancy, so does your baby. The alcohol in your blood quickly passes through the placenta and to your baby through the umbilical cord and can seriously harm your baby’s development, both mentally and physically.

Alcohol can also cause your baby to be born too soon or with certain birth defects of the heart, brain or other organs.  He can also be born at a low birthweight or have:

• Vision and hearing problems

• Intellectual disabilities

• Learning and behavior problems

• Sleeping and sucking problems

• Speech and language delays

The good news is that FASDs are 100% preventable. If you avoid alcohol during your pregnancy, your baby can’t have FASDs or any other health conditions caused by alcohol.

If you have been drinking alcohol during pregnancy, it is never too late to stop. Your baby’s brain is growing throughout pregnancy, so the sooner you stop drinking the safer it will be for you and your baby.

For more information about alcohol during pregnancy and how to stop, visit us here.

Have questions? Email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Click here to read more News Moms Need blog posts on: pregnancy, pre-pregnancy, infant and child care, help for your child with delays or disabilities, and other hot topics.

Alcohol during pregnancy and FASDs

Friday, September 7th, 2012

pregnant-bellySeptember 9 is International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) Awareness Day. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause FASDs, which include a wide range of physical and mental disabilities and lasting emotional and behavioral problems in a child.

When you drink alcohol during pregnancy, so does your baby. The same amount of alcohol that is in your blood is also in your baby’s blood. The alcohol in your blood quickly passes through the placenta and to your baby through the umbilical cord.

Although your body is able to manage alcohol in your blood, your baby’s little body isn’t. Your liver works hard to break down the alcohol in your blood. But your baby’s liver is too small to do the same and alcohol can hurt your baby’s development. That’s why alcohol is much more harmful to your baby than to you during pregnancy. No amount of alcohol (one glass of wine, a beer…) is proven safe to drink during pregnancy.

Alcohol can lead your baby to have serious health conditions, FASDs. The most serious of these is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Fetal alcohol syndrome can seriously harm your baby’s development, both mentally and physically.  Alcohol can also cause your baby to:
• Have birth defects (heart, brain and other organs)
• Vision or hearing problems
• Be born too soon (preterm)
• Be born at low birthweight
• Have learning disabilities (including intellectual disabilities)
• Have sleeping and sucking problems
• Have speech and language delays
• Have behavioral problems

In order to continue raising awareness about alcohol use during pregnancy and FASDs, the CDC has posted a feature telling one woman’s story and her challenges with her son who has FASD. It’s an eye opener. The CDC’s FASD website has lots more information, too.

Still no safe amount of alcohol in pregnancy

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

 

During my pregnancy, I have lots of family and friends who want to share thoughtful advice. I know people mean well, but it’s sometimes confusing when their thoughts conflict with what other family, friends, my health provider and even my gut say. Alcohol seems to be the topic that most of my friends and family differ. Some say the occasional drink is OK; others (including my OB) say absolutely NO to alcohol.

A recent series of Danish studies are adding to the confusion. The researchers looked at several studies that tracked women during their pregnancies and followed their children up to age 5. The Danish studies suggested that the women who took part in light drinking in early pregnancy may not have caused serious problems in these children. However, the researchers warn that much more research needs to be done because there’s still no amount of alcohol that is considered safe.

So while I’m pregnant with my second baby and have the occasional friend tell me it’s OK to have that glass of red with dinner every once in a while, I say to myself, “why take the chance?” The best gift I can give my baby is a healthy start in life. And if that means I have to pass on the sangria this summer, to me, it’s worth it.

 

How I Met Your Mother

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Did you see the TV episode of How I Met Your Mother last night? It’s a funny show that’s always producing laughs. But one of last night’s chuckles wasn’t as spot on as usual.

The character Lily is pregnant on the show and last night her doctor told her it’s OK to drink a little wine while pregnant. The Ted character disagreed with the doc’s comment but later conceded. At the end of the show, Lily was shown holding a bowl of chips and a bottle of wine. I know it was meant to be funny, but that part wasn’t. Pregnant women should not drink alcohol – any alcohol.

Although many people are aware that heavy drinking during pregnancy can cause birth defects, many do not realize that moderate or even light drinking also may harm the baby. In fact, no level of alcohol use during pregnancy has been proven safe. Therefore, the March of Dimes recommends that pregnant women do not drink any alcohol, including beer, wine, wine coolers and liquor, throughout their pregnancy and while nursing. In addition, because women often do not know they are pregnant for a few months, women who may be pregnant or those who are attempting to become pregnant should not drink alcohol.

Another segment of the show involved eating sushi. Raw fish, including sushi and sashimi, and undercooked finfish and shellfish (including oysters, clams, mussels and scallops) are more likely to contain parasites or bacteria than cooked fish and, therefore, should be avoided by pregnant women.

My take away from this is to enjoy the laughs, but remember it’s just TV. Follow reliable medical advice and speak to your own health care provider.

One virgin piña colada, please!

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

pregnancy-coupleMy husband and I recently came back from our babymoon in Cancun, Mexico. With our first baby due at the end of November, our vacations will soon consist of road trips to visit with the grandparents and perhaps a trip to Disney World. So, what better way to have our last hurrah than to take a beach vacation just the two of us? While my husband never failed to order his margarita on the rocks at the swim-up bar, the bartenders already knew by looking at me that my beach beverage of choice was a virgin piña colada (without the shot of rum).

Alcohol during pregnancy is a no-no! Alcohol, even in small amounts, may harm your baby during pregnancy. Still, there are some people who believe that one or two drinks can’t hurt you. You may have even heard about a recent study from England suggesting that a little alcohol during pregnancy might be fine. But there really is no safe amount of alcohol for you to have during pregnancy. Every woman is different and alcohol affects each woman differently. While one drink might be okay for one woman during pregnancy, it could have devastating consequences for another. So, it’s best for both you and your baby to stay away from alcohol during pregnancy.

I liked my virgin beach beverages. Now, if I could only find a way to have warm weather, sunshine and live on the beach permanently… 🙂 .