Sober living

Where We Stand: Alcohol During Pregnancy

The risks from heavy alcohol use and binge drinking have been well established. The risks for occasional use of lower amounts of alcohol are less clear.

Do men get tired during pregnancy?

It's not uncommon for people to experience restless nights, heartburnand bouts of fatigue while their partners are pregnant. In fact, about 11 percent of fathers experience anxiety during the pre- and postnatal period.

However, some reports found that babies exposed to alcohol through breastmilk may eat less and/or have changes in their sleeping patterns. If you suspect that the baby has any symptoms, contact the child’s healthcare provider. Drinking alcohol in pregnancy is a leading cause of intellectual disability. Alcohol affects brain development and a baby’s brain develops throughout pregnancy. Drinking alcohol at any time in pregnancy increases the chance for the baby to have alcohol-related issues including intellectual disabilities, learning problems, and/or behavioral problems.

Is It OK to Have an Occasional Drink During Pregnancy?

The universities are following whether findings are presented and published. The universities have no role in the design, data collection, analysis and interpretation of the findings and in writing the manuscript. All the statements and findings are the responsibility of the investigators. IARD’s members and the members of its Partnership Council are a diverse alcohol during pregnancy group of organizations with a variety of viewpoints. Any statements, findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed on this website do not reflect the policies or views of all IARD members or the organizations they represent, unless explicitly stated. However, all members agree on and support IARD’s mission of reducing the harmful use of alcohol.

alcohol during pregnancy

During the first weeks of pregnancy babies grow at a rapid pace, even before the mothers know they are pregnant. From conception and to the third week, the most susceptible systems and organs are the brain, spinal cord, and heart. These crucial organs start forming in early stages of pregnancy, which are very sensitive and critical periods in human development.

What studies say about drinking while pregnant

Every pregnancy starts out with a 3-5% chance of having a birth defect. Drinking alcohol in pregnancy increases the chance for the baby to have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome . 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 no known safe level for drinking alcohol during pregnancy. For the past few decades, women have been urged to avoid alcohol during pregnancy. The main reason for this is that heavy use of alcohol during pregnancy has been linked to a long-term and irreversible condition known as fetal alcohol syndrome . Drinking alcohol while pregnant is a leading cause of birth defects in a fetus. Alcohol is broken down more slowly in the immature body of the fetus than in the body of an adult.

Women’s Health

Binge drinking is when you drink four or more drinks in 2 to 3 hours. A baby exposed to alcohol through breast milk has an increased risk of delaying motor skill development and other health conditions. To avoid potential complications from arising after birth, a woman should speak with a healthcare professional about caring for a newborn. Doctors and nurses will be able to provide information on what to expect during the first few weeks and months, as well as other safety tips. One of the most common factors that affect miscarriage and stillbirth rates is alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

  • A diagnosis of Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder requires evidence of both prenatal alcohol exposure and CNS abnormalities, which may be structural or functional.
  • It is important to get treatment to stop drinking as soon as possible.
  • Alcohol can cause problems for the baby throughout pregnancy, including before a woman knows she is pregnant.
  • According to different studies, nobody knows the exact amount of alcohol that is potentially harmful to the developing baby in any trimester.

If you drink heavily and you think you may have problems stopping, talk to your doctor or midwife. These can include delirium tremens , 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 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 drank alcohol before you knew you were pregnant or before you knew that alcohol could harm your baby, stop drinking now.