When you get pregnant, you will start to hear a lot of conflicting information. Everyone will start to tell you ‘do this’ or ‘avoid this’, and before you know it you are confused and overwhelmed. Even the experts have different things to say about some topics. When it comes to foods to avoid, sushi, deli meat, certain cheeses and alcohol are on the top of the list of things you will hear. However, just like with everything else, there is conflicting information about alcohol. Some say it is okay in moderation, while other people say to avoid it completely. With all of that conflicting information out there, do you really need to avoid alcohol while pregnant?

Do You Really Need to Avoid Alcohol While Pregnant?: Evaluating the Risks

The Risks

When you are deciding if you should avoid alcohol while pregnant, it is important to be aware of the risks. At any point in your pregnancy, even before you know that you are pregnant, there are risks associated with drinking alcohol. Also, there is not one type of alcohol that is safer than others are. If a mother drinks alcohol during the first three months of pregnancy, the baby could have abnormal facial features. In addition, a baby could end up having growth problems such as having a low birthweight or even behavioral problems from drinking at any point during the pregnancy. There are a wide range of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. In addition, the baby’s brain is developing during the entire pregnancy. Alcohol can affect a baby’s brain at any time before the baby is born.

However, just because you drank alcohol during your pregnancy does not automatically mean that your baby is going to have issues. It is never too late to stop drinking. The sooner you stop drinking during the pregnancy, the less risks there are for you and your baby.

Should You Drink?

Whether you decide to completely avoid alcohol during pregnancy is ultimately up to you. You will have to weigh the risks and decide whether or not you think having that glass of wine or sip of beer is worth the potential side effects. Only you can make that decision. However, it is really not wise to drink in excess while you are pregnant. If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, and can not stop drinking, it is time to get help. Contact your healthcare provider, a support group like AA, or a local treatment facility.