Does alcohol intake pose a risk to the foetus?
A new study shows that alcohol intake during early pregnancy is just as harmful to the fetus. Find out why booze is not best for baby-- at any time.
We’ve all heard the adage that you have to stay away from alcohol while pregnant, and the first sign that celebrities might be pregnant is their refusal of alcohol.
This topic has been hotly contested, with some scientists and doctors saying that as long as the intake of alcohol is minimal, it will not affect the growth of the fetus.
However, a new study by professors from the University of California, San Diego, shows that alcohol intake, no matter how minimal, can cause your child to develop fetal alcohol syndrome later in their life.
A question of time
The focus of this medical study headed by Dr Christina Chambers is on the effects of alcohol intake during specified periods of a pregnancy term. The study found that the risk to the fetus is highest if a pregnant woman drinks during the second half of the first trimester of her pregnancy.
What that means is that the effect of alcohol on your child’s development is highest early in the pregnancy. This is quite worrying as at that point there are many mothers who don’t even realise they might be with child.
To drink or not to drink
The study also finds that during this crucial period (the second to third month), every drink you consume per day raises the odds of a physical abnormality by a whopping 25 percent. In contrast, the average number of drinks during the third trimester (sixth to ninth month) seemed to affect only the baby’s length at birth.
What lead researcher, Dr Chambers concludes is that these findings support the general recommendation that alcohol be avoided during the entire pregnancy.
Fetal alcohol syndrome
Symptoms and effects include:
- Poor growth while the baby is in the womb and after birth
Decreased muscle tone and poor coordination
Delayed development or problems in thinking, speech, movement, or social skills
Heart and physical defects including the altered shape of the eyes and head
How to keep your baby healthy
1. Alcohol consumption should be avoided if you are planning for a baby and if you do have an alcohol problem, speak to someone to help you manage the addiction before and during your pregnancy
3. Engage in some form of physical activity
Find alternatives to alcohol products
Alcohol is more common than you think! Cut alcohol out of your food, change your alcohol shampoo and find non-alcoholic mouthwashes so that you can still keep your breath fresh without needing to brush your teeth several times a day.
Remember that what you do now or what you think might be insignificant such as a glass of wine, could have ramifications for your children in the future.
If you or someone you know is suffering from alcoholic dependency, you can contact Alcoholics Anonymous Singapore at +65 64750890 or [email protected]