It does not hurt to unwind with a glass, or more, of wine after a hard day’s work. However, you might want to find another method of relaxation if you are pregnant or preparing to be one. Yes, you might have heard of the dangers of drinking during pregnancy, but do you realize the extent of the risks this habit brings to you and your baby?

Alcohol and FASD

A recent research showed that alcohol, no matter how small, can expose a fetus to around 428 diseases associated with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), which is a term used to refer to all kinds of disabilities caused by alcohol exposure. Women in their first trimester are even more vulnerable because drinking alcohol may cause a painful miscarriage. In fact, experts warned women to stop drinking altogether at least a year before getting pregnant since alcohol also reduces one’s chances of conceiving and cuts the mother’s lifespan short.

What FASD Looks Like

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), children who suffer from FASD usually display the following behaviors and characteristics:

  • Small head
  • Weak coordination skills
  • Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth philtrum, or the ridge between the upper lip and philtrum
  • Hyperactive
  • Low body weight
  • Shorter stature
  • Poor memory
  • Hearing or vision issues
  • Poor judgment and logic skills
  • Learning issues
  • Difficulty with attention
  • Intellectual disability
  • Struggles in school
  • Problems with the kidney, heart or bones
  • Delays in speech

Would you risk subjecting your child to suffering brought about by FASD and these symptoms because you can’t put that glass of wine down?

Although this topic about drinking during pregnancy still requires additional research, the CDC, the American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists, the US Surgeon General, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all agreed and advised expectant women not to touch a drop of alcohol, to be on the safe side of things.

Even if a study published in the October 2010 issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health may have assured mothers that drinking one to two alcoholic drinks every week may not endanger the child or cause cognitive and behavioral problems, the researchers also wrote that these problems might only become apparent as the child grows.

The decision is still up to you. However, giving up alcohol for at least two years, a year before conception and throughout your pregnancy and nursing period, is a small sacrifice that you have to make for the safety of your child.

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