Donít drink during
Dr Swapna Misra
When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, it is quickly absorbed into her blood stream and it passes on to the baby
FOR decades, researchers
have known that moderate to heavy drinking during pregnancy can cause
birth defects. Even small amount of alcohol can harm a developing
baby. A recent study by the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that about
one in eight pregnant women in the US report drinking at least one
alcoholic beverage in a month.
Most doctors recommend
that pregnant patients should avoid drinking. If you wouldn't give a
two-month-old baby a glass of wine, then why would you drink it
yourself when you're pregnant? We all know that alcohol impacts brain
cells and that the baby's brain develops throughout pregnancy.
you drink an alcoholic beverage, it is quickly absorbed into your
blood stream. The alcohol circulates in the blood until it is
completely broken down by the liver.
If you are pregnant, the alcohol
in your blood stream passes on to the baby. This means when you 'have
a drink' the baby is 'having it' too! Because of the baby's size and
its developing system, this 'drink' of alcohol can be more harmful to
the baby than it is to you.
ó The writer is senior
consultant, obstetrics and gynaecology, Fortis Hospital, Mohali
Kinds of damage
A woman who drinks
alcohol during pregnancy is at the risk of giving birth to an abnormal
child with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Such a child has
growth difficulties ó the size of the head is small and it also
impacts the mental growth of the child.
The face would be
malformed with narrow eyes, low nasal bridge, short, upturned nose.
The baby can also have
heart and joint abnormalities.
Mental retardation is
the most serious defect associated with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.
The child can have
coordination problems, a short attention span and other behavioural
The child tends to be
hyperactive and aggressive.
None of these defects
get corrected as the child grows up.
Some other facts
Every woman varies in
her ability to break down alcohol and eliminate it from her body. So,
even one drink can be harmful.
It hasn't yet been
proven conclusively whether the alcohol consumed by the father affects
the condition of sperms and growth after conception.
If you had a drink or
two before your periods were due, do not panic. It is not likely that
it will harm your baby. The important thing is to avoid it completely
now and stay as healthy as possible. Swear off alcohol for the rest of