Mar 04

Alcohol and Pregnancy – The Effects

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The Dangers of Alcohol During Pregnancy

Drinking alcohol while pregnant causes serious risk to your babies’ health. The Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is caused by drinking alcohol during pregnancy and impacts one in 100 children, causing low birth weight, restricted growth, physical and mental disability and, in some cases, heart problems.

What is FASD?

FASD is a general term for a variety of mental, physical and behavioural problems linked to drinking during pregnancy, including Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. One drink doesn’t cause FASD; however, no one knows exactly how much alcohol causes the disorder. To prevent confusion over what could be safe, most experts advise pregnant women not to drink at all. There are several ways to test for alcohol, if you believe someone you know is drinking alcohol while pregnant. There are urine tests, saliva tests and breath tests.

It is important for pregnant women to not consume alcohol as it puts their infant at a huge risk. If you find you can’t stop drinking you need to see a specialist to help you to cut down and stop drinking.

How do some children with FASD appear different to normal children?

Children with FASD often appear to be normal, however their behaviour is often different to children without any disorders; they are often slower to understand, things they learn are not stored for long (they aren’t processed into the long term memory), they have sudden mood swings and find social situations difficult.

There are some physical indications of FASD including smaller and wide-set eyes, a thin upper lip and no groove between the nose and lip. But many don’t, which is why their behaviour is often misunderstood well into adulthood.

Can these children fit into a normal life?

Many children with the disorder manage to adapt to social situations, using small talk to fit in and, given the proper support, can function well in some jobs / trades.

So when it comes to alcohol you should put your pregnancy first and stop drinking! Drinking alcohol when pregnant is irresponsible and some have even gone to the extreme of calling it child abuse, the risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy far outweighs any positives i.e. helping the mother to relax.

For further information on alcohol, safe drinking levels and legal drink drive limits, visit our alcohol information page. Also feel free to order alcohol testing kits online, on our online ordering page.

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