The Sobering Truth About Alcohol and Pregnancy
“Oh, my goodness, I can’t believe it, I’m finally pregnant” “No, I can’t possibly be pregnant now! I just went to a wedding reception three weeks ago and had way too much to drink! Will my baby be deformed? Will she be mentally retarded?”
When that little stick turns blue, at least a hundred different emotions (some of which we didn’t even know we had), along with just as many forms of excitement, buzz through our heads and hearts. Eventually, another hundred worries and fears come creeping along too. We women tend to turn those worries into self-blame. We worry that we didn’t eat quite right, drank too much coffee, didn’t take our vitamins, were under a lot of stress at work, and drank too much early in our pregnancy.
Yes, of course, what we do and what we consume affects our baby when we’re pregnant. But, there’s no need to blame us or panic. After all, we can’t control what we didn’t know about. It’s best to simply move forward with the exciting news and start making changes for the better.
“You should tell your doctor that you drank early on in your pregnancy, and stop drinking right away,” explains, Rich Calton, RN/Midwife, practicing in Cheyenne, Wyoming. “Light drinking early in your pregnancy will likely not have any ill affects on your baby, but don’t gamble – stop now.”
If you are a heavy drinker, who consumes more than 1-2 drinks daily, and did so before you knew you were pregnant, Calton advises consulting your doctor right away. He or she will be able to recommend the safest way to stop drinking for your own health as well as baby’s.
Can I Drink at All While I’m Pregnant?
Calton prefers that no one drank, ever, since alcohol can cause liver damage as well as other ailments. For a pregnant woman, or a woman in her childbearing years, drinking is a real boon.
“Women who are pregnant or are trying to get pregnant should not drink,” says Calton. He explains that alcohol, even in moderation, during pregnancy can cause low birth weight, birth defects, and fetal alcohol syndrome.
Social Gatherings and Cravings
Since baby needs to grow for nine months before we can say “hello”, you’re likely going to be faced with cravings for certain beverages and social gatherings or holiday parties where alcohol is served and offered. Should you accept? No! But, there are alternatives:
- Try a club soda; it looks and feels like a real drink!
- Many favorites like daiquiris and margaritas are available in a non-alcoholic version
- Shirley Temples and Kiddie Cocktails are actually quite yummy.
- Non-alcoholic beer is available if you’re a beer-lover.
- Even a soda with caffeine in it is better than opting for an alcoholic beverage.
So, if you drink regularly, then discover you’re pregnant, don’t worry yourself into a frenzy. Just stop drinking entirely if you’re a light to moderate drinker, and consult your doctor if you’re a heavy drinker.
These tips, plus taking good care of yourself otherwise, will ensure that your baby is as healthy as humanly possible!
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