It is necessary to eliminate all bad habits as soon as you find out about the pregnancy. A glass of wine with dinner, which was previously considered harmless, can no longer be part of your leisure time. Alcohol and pregnancy are incompatible. Alcoholic beverages are extremely dangerous for the health and development of the child.
Should you panic if you drank some alcohol before you knew you were pregnant? What are the consequences of drinking alcohol in the third trimester? Is it allowed to drink naturally fermented beer? Women have a lot of questions about this. Let’s consider this topic in more detail.
Can pregnant women drink alcohol?
Alcohol should not be taken by pregnant women in any doses and at any stage of pregnancy. Drinking alcohol leads to the development of fetal alcohol syndrome. The effect of alcohol on the CNS can be structural and functional. The risk of obtaining various abnormal features of the face or body, internal problems in the development of organs, and the functioning of systems increases.
Alcohol abuse can cause the loss of a child, his disability, or mental retardation. Even a small sip of alcohol affects the fetus. The placenta does not protect the baby from ethanol. It freely penetrates his blood. Women should not drink alcohol and low-alcohol drinks throughout pregnancy and during breastfeeding.
Does alcohol cross the placenta?
Ethanol completely and very quickly overcomes the placental barrier when it enters the body of a pregnant woman. Alcohol is perfectly absorbed into the blood and its content in the bloodstream of the fetus will be even higher than that of the mother.
The metabolism of ethanol in the tissues of the placenta and the fetus occurs through the same enzymes. In the placenta, there is a single isoform of alcohol dehydrogenase, but it practically does not participate in the process of oxidative metabolism of alcohol. Ethanol crosses the placenta without obstruction.
The protective shell of the fetus is resistant to many viruses but is defenseless against alcohol. The opinion that alcohol is allowed when the placenta has formed is a complete delusion.
Why is alcohol dangerous for pregnancy?
A woman will not have any health problems from drinking alcohol during pregnancy. These drinks are especially dangerous for the fetus. The probability of serious complications, miscarriage, and development of mental and physical abnormalities is very high. Here is an example of the most common pathologies and other consequences of the influence of alcohol on pregnancy:
Miscarriage and stillbirth
Such a terrible consequence can await those women who heavily abuse alcoholic beverages. A few sips of alcohol during pregnancy puts the baby in danger. Alcohol enters the baby’s bloodstream along with the mother’s bloodstream. An immature only developing organism is not always able to cope with such a load. There may be defects of internal organs incompatible with life.
External physical disturbances
A child in the womb develops according to a certain natural plan. The intervention of alcohol in this plan leads to severe disruptions. All sorts of mutations or other forms of physical abnormalities may appear. For example, a baby can be born with undeveloped limbs.
Women who drink alcohol most often give birth to children with facial defects that are difficult to correct. The proportions of the head are disturbed, and extra fingers or other external anomalies appear.
Behavioral and mental disorders
Abuse or even moderate use of alcohol can adversely affect the mental development of the fetus. The child will be hyperactive, easily excitable, and nervous, with sleep and emotional disorders. Such children often develop poorly, are difficult to learn, and seriously lag behind their peers. They have speech delays, difficulty with attention, and low IQ.
Internal physiological anomalies
Children whose mothers drank alcohol often suffer from heart pathologies. These can be defects of varying degrees, underdevelopment, and an abnormal location of this organ.
A child of alcohol-dependent parents can be born without one lung, which is incompatible with life. Sometimes there are children with serious pathologies of hearing and vision. Often there are congenital problems with the kidneys, liver, brain, and bones.
Drinking alcohol can affect a child’s health and lead to disability. Muscle atrophy, underdevelopment of the spine, spinal cord, and coordination disorders are likely. Alcohol prevents the absorption of vital trace elements and vitamins at different stages of intrauterine ontogenesis. It is impossible to reverse processes.
Are all doses of alcohol dangerous?
Science has no definition of a “safe dose of alcohol”. Any amount of alcohol in varying degrees affects the fetus. You may not notice the effects of drinking a glass of wine. They can manifest themselves in older childhood or adulthood. Some of them may be considered harmless while others are extremely dangerous.
You don’t have to play this roulette. Just know that alcohol always strikes, albeit with different strengths. Alcohol-dependent women will have much more unfortunate consequences of their abuse. Do not assume that small doses will not affect the child in any way.
Life is full of paradoxes. It happens that an alcohol-dependent woman gives birth to seemingly healthy children, and an innocently drunk glass of alcohol by an ordinary woman makes her child disabled.
Drinking alcohol in the first weeks after conception
The fact of pregnancy is detected no earlier than 3 weeks after conception, especially if it is not planned. The fetus is already firmly established in the uterine cavity at this time and receives nourishment from the mother’s blood. Extremely negative factors, which include alcohol, can cause rejection and death of the fetus.
You may not even know that conception has occurred if you drink alcohol in the first weeks of pregnancy. The dead embryo will simply come out with the menstrual blood. Alcohol can either cause rejection of the fetus or not affect its fixation but affect further development.
Alcohol during the first trimester of pregnancy
A woman should eliminate alcohol at the very beginning of pregnancy, knowing about her situation. The embryo receives nutrients from the mother’s blood and is fixed in the uterus in the 3rd week. Alcohol directly enters the body of the fetus. The consequences of such an impact are unpredictable.
Alcohol can lead to malformations in the development of the nervous system, heart, respiratory and digestive organs if consumed from the 3rd to the 13th week of pregnancy. Failures and violations of the proper development of the fetus under the influence of alcohol lead to external anomalies: underdevelopment of the limbs and deformities of the jaws, lips, and nose.
Is there a safe period to drink alcohol during pregnancy?
Alcohol should not be consumed throughout pregnancy, and ideally should be stopped long before conception occurs.
Drinking alcohol is dangerous both at the beginning of pregnancy and at the end. Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream and crosses the placenta and umbilical cord. The kid receives a dose of alcohol that is not always compatible with life. Developmental failures occur at any stage of pregnancy.
Can pregnant women drink analogs of alcoholic drinks?
Many lovers of beer or champagne cannot afford this drink during the gestation period. There are many so-called “non-alcoholic drinks” on the shelves of supermarkets: beer, champagne, and so on. Note that these drinks contain alcohol. It is low, but if you overdo it with the amount, then the level of alcohol in the blood will be sufficient to produce negative consequences.
Non-alcoholic beer contains approximately 0.5% alcohol. For comparison, this is a teaspoon per bottle. Not so little in this sense.
There are too many flavor enhancers in addition to alcohol in false alcoholic beverages. They are aimed at compensating for low alcohol levels. All these additives are not known how they affect the body of the unborn baby. It is better not to use substitute analogs of alcoholic beverages during pregnancy.
Is there a safe alcoholic drink during pregnancy?
Some fans of alcohol consider beer, cocktails, or house wine harmless. They think that these natural drinks are not capable of causing addiction and are quite safe even for pregnant women. This is utterly absurd and belongs to the category of the most frustrating misconceptions.
All alcoholic drinks contain alcohol. Some have less ethanol, some more. Many fermented drinks are considered less alcoholic, but that doesn’t make them safe for pregnancy. Any drink related to alcohol is extremely dangerous for the fetus. There is no safe low alcohol drink for pregnant women!
What to do if a pregnant woman wants alcohol?
Rehabilitation centers can help in case of alcohol addiction. They save mothers with children and pregnant women with addiction problems. The treatment includes both group therapy and individual consultations with psychotherapists or psychologists.
The situation is different if a woman without signs of addiction wanted wine or champagne. Sometimes pregnant women are drawn to food or drinks that they were previously indifferent to. You need to control yourself and think only about your baby.
Try to replace alcoholic beverages with non-alcoholic ones. For example, a strong craving for wine can be stopped by drinking a glass of grape or pomegranate juice. Do not give in to the false call of the body, be smarter and deceive your taste buds. Try not to be around people who drink and do not keep alcohol at home to avoid temptation.