When you understand that everything that you take into your body while you are pregnant will affect your baby in some way, it becomes very clear that drinking alcohol of any kind is a huge risk. Some mothers rationalize saying that they will drink less, quite after the first few months of pregnancy, or that they drank during their last pregnancy and the baby was fine. All of these rationalizations are very dangerous and false. Putting alcohol into a baby’s system, even in the first 1 or 2 months, can cause damage that will last its entire life. The most serious effect of drinking while pregnant is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Some of the more common effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome are:
– mental retardation
– low birth weight
– premature birth
– delayed development
– facial distortions (ex. small eyes, flat cheeks, and indistinct philtrum)
– poor coordination
– poor social skills.
– learning and behavioral problems
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is the leading cause of mental retardation in this country. Still other disorders such as alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND) and alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD) are said to occur three times as often as FAS.
Perhaps the most alarming fact about these unfortunate disorders is that each of them is 100% preventable. Not drinking while pregnant and while trying to become pregnant will remove the risk of these disorders completely. Because alcohol-related defects can occur at any stage of pregnancy, it is never too late to stop drinking. If a woman is unable to stop drinking then she should contact her physician, Alcoholics Anonymous, or some other alcohol treatment center immediately.