Alcohol and Pregnancy in the United States National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism NIAAA

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Visit the NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator® to learn more about evidence-based treatments for alcohol-related problems. They note, on their web sites, that pregnant women who drink alcohol risk giving birth to a child with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). These conditions range from mild to severe and include speech and language delays, learning disabilities, abnormal facial features, small head size, and many other problems. During 2018–2020, 13.5% of pregnant adults in the United States reported current drinking, and 5.2% reported binge drinking in the past 30 days.

Drinking alcohol, especially in the first three months of pregnancy, increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth and your baby having a low birth weight. Experts say that women with certain risk factors should be especially careful about avoiding alcohol while pregnant. You probably should not drink, for example, if you have liver disease, a history of addiction, or are on any medications that may conflict with alcohol, such as antidepressants.

Health topics

However, it’s normal to find cutting back on alcohol hard – or to feel like you are missing out. Pregnancy involves many lifestyle changes and while these can be positive, they can still take some adjusting to. Your baby does not have a fully developed liver and cannot process alcohol. If you’re pregnant and wondering if it’s OK to indulge in the occasional small glass of merlot or to sip a little champagne on New Year’s Eve, the advice you receive may be confusing.

However, the organization also recommends discussing this with a healthcare professional and stopping drinking. However, studies suggest that 10.2% of people in the United States drink alcohol during pregnancy, and 3.1% binge drink while pregnant. Additionally, over 6% of those who drank alcohol before being pregnant did not change their alcohol intake when they found out.

Drinking alcohol while pregnant

Finally, drinking was reported over a 30-day period which might not reflect drinking patterns earlier in pregnancy when consumption tends to be higher (10). These last three limitations might contribute to underestimates of drinking during pregnancy. A stable, positive, and nonviolent home environment is one of the most important factors for helping children with FASDs. However, a lack of awareness, stigma around the condition, late diagnosis, and difficulty accessing care can all create barriers. Like other children, those with FAS or Down syndrome can have other diagnoses at the same time, such as autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Children with Down syndrome are not more likely to have these diagnoses than children without Down syndrome but may have more difficulty coping with their effects.

alcohol during pregnancy

But the potential effects of small amounts of alcohol on a developing baby are not well understood. We know drinking heavily during pregnancy is not safe for the baby. While this would seem to suggest that low-level alcohol consumption is safe during pregnancy, there are other factors to consider. First, while the study included 1,600 women, that’s still a relatively small sample size. Second, children’s brains are still developing at age 5, and the full effects that alcohol may have had on them may not yet be measurable.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

If you have difficulty stopping drinking, talk to a midwife, doctor or pharmacist. However, they should not worry unnecessarily, as the risks of their baby being affected are likely to be low. Women who find out they’re pregnant after already having drunk in early pregnancy should avoid further drinking for the rest of their pregnancy. When you drink, alcohol passes from your blood through the placenta to your baby and can seriously affect its development. Drinking in pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to the baby, with the more you drink, the greater the risk.

‘Don’t Risk It’ campaign highlights risks of drinking while pregnant – Charleston City Paper

‘Don’t Risk It’ campaign highlights risks of drinking while pregnant.

Posted: Mon, 22 Apr 2024 09:31:01 GMT [source]

Women must be allowed to make their own decisions based on the amount of risk they are willing to accept. Many will say, “If there is any risk, I will follow the guidelines and not drink at all.” Others may examine the risks and choose to have an occasional drink. There is no specific treatment for either condition, and the course of either condition varies from person to person.

As a result, healthcare professionals tailor support and medical interventions to each child. While both FAS and Down syndrome are lifelong conditions, there are many interventions that can help children learn skills, reach developmental milestones, and manage physical conditions. Down syndrome usually affects appearance, but the developmental delays it can cause can sometimes be mild.

  • “How a baby will be affected depends on how much its mother drinks during the pregnancy and the mother’s metabolism,” says Morgan.
  • From non-alcoholic beer to Prosecco and spirits, these drinks can help stop you feeling left out at a party or at the pub.
  • Both FAS and Down syndrome can affect a child’s ability to manage their emotions.

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