Can I Drink Moderately While Pregnant?

Can I Drink Moderately While Pregnant?Prenatal health care has become a major area of interest and passion in recent decades. Understanding of the impact various lifestyle choices have on the developmental health of babies has significantly changed the way many women live during pregnancy. Forty years ago it would have been common to see a pregnant woman drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. These days a sight like that would certainly illicit sharp criticism. Smoking and drinking cause significant developmental problems that can affect children, but controversy exists over the harm involved in moderate drinking during pregnancy.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Fetal alcohol syndrome, a completely preventable condition, is the leading cause of mental retardation in the developed world. It includes an array of physical and mental defects that are directly caused by the mother’s use of alcohol during pregnancy. Some of the symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome include the following:

  • Stunted fetal growth
  • Low birth weight
  • Poor physical development during childhood
  • Facial deformities
  • Brain damage
  • Lifelong learning disabilities
  • Mental health problems
  • Predisposal toward addiction
  • Impulse control disorders

Due to the seriousness and preventability of this syndrome both the Surgeon General of the United States and the British Department of Health recommend that women consume no alcohol during pregnancy.

Moderation versus Abstinence during Pregnancy

If alcohol use was permitted or even encouraged just a few decades ago, complete abstinence has been the rule in more recent years. However moderate alcohol consumption during pregnancy may not be as harmful as previously believed, as one 2010 report published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community from the British Medical Journal demonstrated no health risks to the developing fetus and no ongoing cognitive impairment when expectant mothers consumed one drink of alcohol per day. Other studies suggest that one or two drinks per week should be safe, but since there is currently no way to establish what a safe level of consumption is, most doctors still recommend abstinence.

Signs of Alcohol Dependency before and during Pregnancy

Many people underestimate the power of alcoholism and fail to recognize early warning signs. If you are pregnant or are considering becoming pregnant but are dreading spending nine months without alcohol, you may be facing alcohol dependency or addiction. If any of the following symptoms describe your relationship with alcohol, you may need professional help:

  • Do you experience anxiety or tension if you cannot have at least one drink per day?
  • Are you ever dishonest with friends, families, co-workers or physicians about your drinking?
  • Are you unable to enjoy yourself socially or relax without at least a drink or two?
  • Have you ever decided to quit drinking but found yourself drinking anyway?

If your answer to any of these questions is “yes,” talk with recovery professionals before becoming pregnant. If you are already pregnant, recovery programs exist that are experienced in caring for the health of mothers and their unborn children.

Alcohol Abuse Help for Women

Please call our toll-free helpline today. Our counselors are standing by twenty four hours a day to help you enter parenthood as a physically and emotionally healthy person. Learn about your options by picking up the phone now.