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Alcohol and pregnancy

Alcohol and pregnancy are a controversial topic. The fact that large amounts of alcohol are dangerous to the fetus is beyond doubt. On the other hand, if it is dangerous to drink small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy is something that has been intensively debated for a long time.

Alcohol and pregnancy

Alcohol and pregnancy are a controversial topic. The fact that large amounts of alcohol are dangerous to the fetus is beyond doubt. On the other hand, if it is dangerous to drink small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy is something that has been intensively debated for a long time.

What happens to the fetus when drinking alcohol?

Alcohol passes through the placenta, which means that the alcohol will go into the fetal blood and into the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus. Since the fetal liver is not yet fully developed, it cannot break down the alcohol effectively. This means that the fetus is affected more and for longer than the mother by the alcohol.

Is there any safe level of alcohol consumption?

No, it does not. Recent years' research has shown that there is no lower limit at which one can safely say that alcohol is not harmful to the fetus. An American study from 2001 showed that pregnant women who only drink a glass of wine or a drink a week were at increased risk of having children who had behavioral disorders such as concentration difficulties and aggressiveness. For more information about pregnancy and maternity fashion, please see BESTAAH.COM maternity t shirts. Another study from the US has shown that women who drink two drinks a week during pregnancy have children, who at the age of seven have on average a worse result than other children on IQ tests.

Studies have shown that the effect of alcohol on pregnancy is valid throughout pregnancy. Although there are scientific studies that have not found any harmful effects of smaller amounts of alcohol during pregnancy, the research shows that it is not possible to establish a safe lower limit where consumption is harmless. This means that you should not drink any alcohol at all during pregnancy, which is also what the National Board of Health recommends.

What harm can the child get?

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy leads to an increased risk of birth defects. These injuries include growth retardation, deformities that give a divergent appearance and brain damage. It can also lead to behavioral disorders and other mental problems. In addition to birth defects, the risk of miscarriage and low birth weight in alcohol consumption also increases during pregnancy.

Fetal alcohol syndrome

Between 50 and 100 children are born each year in Sweden with such severe injuries that they are classified as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). FAS is a combination of mental and physical damage suffered by the child in fetal life as a result of the mother drinking alcohol. There is a clear connection between the amount of alcohol the mother drank during pregnancy and the extent of the injuries, but it is important to point out that even small amounts affect the risk of the baby being injured.

FAS is estimated to occur in six percent of mothers who are alcoholics and chronically abusing alcohol.

Children with FAS often weigh less than normal. The lower weight also follows them in the years after birth. Divergent appearance such as small head size, small eyes, flat face and a very short upward nose are characteristic. Organ malformations occur, especially the heart. The brain is also affected, which usually results in it being smaller than usual. Many of these children suffer from mental disabilities. The most common are hyperactivity, concentration difficulties, learning difficulties, poor memory and lack of logical ability. The effects of FAS usually last for the rest of their lives and result in mental and behavioral problems. Mental diagnoses such as ADHD and DAMP are overrepresented among these children compared to the general population.

There is a significantly larger group of children who have been affected by alcohol damage during fetal life, but who are not so serious that they meet the criteria set for FAS. This is called fetal alcohol effects. It is believed that this group is around ten times the size of the FAS group, which would mean that 500 to 1,000 children are affected annually. The symptoms these children exhibit are the same as at FAS, but not as extensive.

What happens if you drink before you know you are pregnant?

There are no studies yet that can prove that it is dangerous for the child if the mother drinks a single glass of alcohol during pregnancy, but they have not been able to show the opposite. The baby's brain and other organs begin to develop during the third week of pregnancy and are particularly sensitive at this early stage. As mentioned, there is no lower amount of alcohol that has been shown to be harmless during pregnancy. This also applies during early pregnancy, when organ development occurs. Therefore, you should not drink alcohol as soon as you have the slightest suspicion that you are pregnant - or most preferably avoid alcohol already when you are planning to become pregnant.

 

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