Yes, health benefits of alcohol have been reported, but these benefits are for a moderate alcohol intake. But having said that, the effect of alcohol on individuals varies widely, so it is not always beneficial for everyone, like pregnant women as an example. Alcohol abuse can lead to malnutrition, gastritis, insomnia, fetal alcohol poisoning, domestic violence and death.
While moderate drinking for those who aren’t pregnant, is associated with a lower risk for coronary heart disease, high levels of alcohol can increase your risk of stroke, violence, suicide, cancers, heart disease and hypertension.
Looking after Your Baby during the Critical Months
When you’re pregnant, you may become tired of everyone bombarding you with what do do and what not to do. There is also plenty of information in magazines and on the Internet about pregnancy or even trying to fall pregnant. Everyone of them emphasizes that if you choose to ignore a lot of information, the ‘refraining from alcohol‘ bit is surely the one snippet of information you should not ignore. In the UK the Department of Health doesn’t suggest alcohol in moderation, they say that pregnant women, or women trying for a baby, should avoid alcohol altogether – period.
Birth Defects and even Mental Problems
If you’re going to ignore all warnings and go ahead with drinking when you’re pregnant, you need to know that a 175ml wine glass which is considered as standard, contains 2 units of alcohol. Drinking more than 2 units a week is already putting your baby’s health at serious risk.
The truth is that when you drink, the alcohol goes from your bloodstream through the placenta and directly into your baby’s blood. Alcohol ‘fed’ to a unborn baby can have a harmful effect on its development.
Do serious research on alcohol and pregnancy and you will find that small birth weight, premature birth, stillbirth, miscarriage as well as Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) are all risks you face if you insist on drinking while you’re pregnant. Also, if you’re trying to have a baby, you should stop drinking too, as alcohol can reduce fertility in men and women alike. If you’re trying to have a baby, certainly your partner will also have to cut down on their drinking too.
When you know for certain that you are pregnant, its time to take extra good care of yourself so that you and your baby will be healthy. See a doctor as soon as possible to begin getting decent prenatal care.
During your first visit, you’re once again going to be asked lots of questions and the doctor will tell you that smoking, drinking alcohol, and taking drugs when you are pregnant are going to put you and your baby at risk. The doctor will tell you that it’s not safe to drink any amount of alcohol when you are pregnant, and in fairness to the baby, to stop drinking immediately to avoid walking around for the rest of your life with your secret shame.