Alcohol use during pregnancy and associated factors among pregnant women in Sub-Saharan Africa: further analysis of the recent demographic and health survey data Full Text

While some birth defects can be treated with surgery or medicine, others are more difficult to manage and can affect a child’s health throughout adulthood. An alcohol-free lifestyle is the best way to prevent birth defects and other harmful consequences during pregnancy. Using alcohol during pregnancy is the leading cause of preventable birth defects, developmental disabilities and learning disabilities. However, the only way to prevent FAS is to avoid drinking beverages containing alcohol during pregnancy. Children born with this syndrome experience the symptoms throughout their entire lives.

  • The best thing you can do for your baby is to avoid further use of alcohol during your pregnancy.
  • FAS and FASD cause lifelong challenges, such as problems with learning and poor memory.
  • This calls for a tailored behavior change intervention to reduce alcohol use during pregnancy.
  • A syndrome is a group of symptoms that happen together as the result of a particular disease or abnormal condition.
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages while pregnant may affect your baby by leading to FASD, the most severe of which is FAS.
  • The sooner a woman commits to stop drinking, the greater the chance of having a trouble-free pregnancy and healthy baby.

Babies with FAS may have a pattern of certain birth defects that can include a small head and body size, specific facial features, and learning and behavioral problems. FAS is the most severe outcome of alcohol use during pregnancy. There is evidence that binge drinking can cause health problems in unborn babies. If you drank more than 4 drinks within 2-3 hours while you didn’t know you were pregnant, definitely discuss the situation with your healthcare provider. Women who are pregnant or who are trying to get pregnant should avoid drinking any amount of alcohol. The only way to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome is to not drink alcohol during pregnancy.

What’s the difference between fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs)?

The sooner a woman commits to stop drinking, the greater the chance of having a trouble-free pregnancy and healthy baby. If you did drink any amount of alcohol during pregnancy, it’s important to know that your healthcare provider and your baby’s pediatrician need to know to help you plan for your child’s future. It’s also recommended that you avoid beverages containing alcohol when you’re trying to become pregnant. Many people don’t know they’re pregnant for the first few weeks of pregnancy (four to six weeks).

alcohol during pregnancy

But many things can help children reach their full potential, especially if the problem is found early. Some women know they are drinking too much but do not feel able to talk about it. You may not realise that drinking alcohol has become an issue if you are drinking little and often. Or you might be hiding the fact you are drinking alcohol because you fear being judged. If you find it hard to avoid alcohol, talk to a midwife, doctor or pharmacist. They will not judge you and will understand that you are trying to do your best to keep your baby safe.

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A common misconception is that pumping and dumping breast milk will help speed up the process of removing alcohol from a woman’s body. In fact, it can take several hours for just one drink to be entirely eliminated from the body. Receiving treatment as soon as possible in childhood can help decrease the likelihood of developing these secondary effects in life. Fetal alcohol syndrome isn’t curable, and the symptoms will impact your child throughout life.

Again, there is no safe level of alcohol use for a woman who is pregnant. This means that even drinking so-called nonalcoholic beer may present a significant risk because even these beverages have some level of alcohol in them. Unfortunately, many babies are born with health complications – some life-threatening – due to alcoholism. Some infants are required to stay in the hospital for weeks or months after their birth so medical staff can closely monitor their vitals. Others may face a range of developmental issues such as cognitive impairments and learning disabilities. Babies who were exposed to alcohol in the womb are also at risk for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) and birth defects.

Current Studies

Furthermore, because the study was based on secondary data, important variables such as the amount, type, and frequency of alcohol consumption among pregnant women were not evaluated. Some women may drink alcohol during pregnancy and have babies who seem healthy. Some women may have very little alcohol during pregnancy and have babies with serious health conditions. The best way to keep your baby safe from problems caused by alcohol during pregnancy is not to drink alcohol when you’re pregnant. Drinking alcohol – wine, beer and liquor – can lead to serious complications during pregnancy and after birth.

Ultrasounds can look for some birth defects, and can watch the baby’s growth. There are no screenings or tests available during pregnancy that can tell if alcohol has caused intellectual disabilities, learning problems, or if it will affect future behavior. It is recommended not to drink any amount of alcohol at any time in pregnancy. If a person who is pregnant is using alcohol it is recommend they stop as soon as possible, no matter how far along they are in their pregnancy. If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant and cannot stop drinking, talk with your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Alcohol easily passes through the placenta, the organ that nourishes a baby during pregnancy.

How can fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) be prevented?

Alcohol use appears to be the most harmful during the first 3 months of pregnancy; however, drinking alcohol anytime during pregnancy can be harmful. If you drink heavily and you think you may have problems stopping, talk to your doctor or midwife. These can include delirium tremens (DTs), and you will need help to manage them. The healthcare team caring for you during your pregnancy can give you advice and support.

Some women felt that the CDC was being condescending and interfering in their right to make decisions about how they live their lives. If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant and cannot stop drinking, get help! Contact your healthcare provider, local Alcoholics Anonymous, or local alcohol treatment center. The ways in which alcohol can affect an unborn child varies by case, but health risks can include both short-and long-term complications. Although some dangerous effects of alcohol exposure in the womb can be quickly identified in newborns, other health complications may take years to manifest.

Studies have reported higher rates of stillbirth among those who drink alcohol during pregnancy. Drinking may also cause the baby to grow smaller than expected. Alcohol, ethanol and ethyl alcohol are all names for the ingredient in beer, wine or hard liquor that gives an intoxicating effect. The same amount of alcohol is found in a standard serving of beer (12 ounces), wine (4-5 ounces) or hard liquor (1.5 ounces).

stages of alcoholic recovery

When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, the alcohol travels through her blood and into the baby’s blood, tissues, and organs. Alcohol breaks down much more slowly in the baby’s body than in an adult. That means the baby’s blood alcohol level remains increased longer than the mother’s. This can harm the baby and can sometimes lead to lifelong damage.

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