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Alcohol during pregancy

Okay so I'm a bit confused...some doctors have said it's fine to have a drink (red wine or guiness) like once a week when pregant however I've always been told you shouldn't drink during pregnancy. My friend is currently 8 months pregnant and has followed her doctor's advice and drank occasionally throughout the pregnancy - I have several friends whose doctors have said this is fine but others have said it's wrong. How do you know what medical opinion you can rely on?

Sun. Sep 9, 6:49am

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You can't rely on a medical opinion.... The likelyhood is that drinking a little here and there is ok. I myself have drunk a bottle or so here and there of non alcoholic beer and even take a small sip of my husbands Corona. When I was pregnant with my first son- I would taste (tiny sip- or sticking my tounge in his glass) his wine if he thought it was particularily good. I am not a huge drinker by any means when not pregnant- it barely exists in my life.
Moderaton and your comfort level are what you pay attention to.

Sunday, September 09, 2007, 9:33 AM

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I agree with the above poster. You will hear all sorts of opinions but you need to make the choice for yourself. There is no evidence that an occasional drink will do any harm. But there is also no proof that it won't. Bottom line is that you cannot prove a negative so some doctors and indivivuals prefer not to take any chances.

It is certainly clear that heavy drinking can cause harm so it seesm that some doctors and society in general will frown on a woman who has even one drink. This seems to be an over-reaction to me. After all, there are are very few activites that have no risk - driving your car, drinking caffiene, gaining too much weight, gaining too lillte weight, over-exercising, under-exercising..... whatever.

I get irritated with people who try to impose their opinions on others. The stress a woman can go through by judgemental eyes is probably more harmful than the one glass of wine she might have.

Sunday, September 09, 2007, 4:01 PM

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I would always err on the side of caution with alcohol. Granted, one small sip probably won't do any harm, but why risk it?

Sunday, September 09, 2007, 4:35 PM

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What I've always heard about alcohol during pregnancy is that the most damage is done in the first trimester (as with any drug during pregnancy I suppose). I personally would not drink alcohol if I were pregnant, but as one of the above posters mentioned, alcohol is really not very important to me. Coffee would be something I would have an excruciating time giving up, however, and I don't know if I could go nine months without it. Perhaps alcohol is the same situation for other people.

Not to sound pessimistic, but at this point, she's 8 months along, so if there was damage done, there's not much that can be done about it now. But assuming that's she's been going to her regular check ups and everything seems fine and the baby seems healthy to the ob-gyn, then I say there was nothing wrong with how your friend has acted.

Sunday, September 09, 2007, 5:14 PM

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even light drinking should be considered a risk during pregnancy.

In fact, no level of alcohol use during pregnancy has been proven safe. Therefore, the March of Dimes recommends that pregnant women do not drink any alcohol—including beer, wine, wine coolers and hard liquor—throughout their pregnancy and while nursing. In addition, because women often do not know they are pregnant for a few months, women who may be pregnant or those who are attempting to become pregnant should abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages.

When a pregnant woman drinks, alcohol passes swiftly through the placenta to her fetus. In the unborn baby's immature body, alcohol is broken down much more slowly than in an adult's body. As a result, the alcohol level of the baby's blood can be even higher and can remain elevated longer than the level in the mother's blood. This sometimes causes the baby to suffer lifelong damage.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause a number of birth defects, ranging from mild to severe. These include mental retardation; learning, emotional and behavioral problems; and defects involving the heart, face and other organs. The term "fetal alcohol spectrum disorder" is used to describe the many problems associated with exposure to alcohol before birth. The most severe of these is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a combination of physical and mental birth defects.

Consuming alcohol during pregnancy also increases the risk of miscarriage, low birthweight (less than 5 1/2 pounds) and stillbirth. A 2002 Danish study found that women who drank five or more drinks a week were three times more likely to have a stillborn baby than women who had less than one drink a week (4).

No level of drinking alcohol has been proven safe during pregnancy. The full pattern of FAS usually occurs in offspring of women who are alcoholics or chronic alcohol abusers. These women either drink heavily (about four or five or more drinks daily) throughout pregnancy or have repeated episodes of binge drinking. However, FAS can occur in women who drink less. ARBD ( Alcohol Related Birth Defects) and ARND ( Alcohol-related Neurodevelopmental Disorders) can occur in babies of women who drink moderately or lightly during pregnancy.

Researchers are taking a closer look at the more subtle effects of moderate and light drinking during pregnancy. A 2002 study found that 14-year-old children whose mothers drank as little as one drink a week were significantly shorter and leaner and had a smaller head circumference (a possible indicator of brain size) than children of women who did not drink at all (7). A 2001 study found that 6- and 7-year-old children of mothers who had as little as one drink a week during pregnancy were more likely than children of non-drinkers to have behavior problems, such as aggressive and delinquent behaviors. These researchers found that children whose mothers drank any alcohol during pregnancy were more than three times as likely as unexposed children to demonstrate delinquent behaviors (8).

Other researchers report behavioral and learning problems in children exposed to moderate drinking during pregnancy, including attention and memory problems, hyperactivity, impulsivity, poor social and communication skills, psychiatric problems (including mood disorders) and alcohol and drug use (1).

In general, alcohol-related birth defects (such as heart and facial defects) are more likely to result from drinking during the first trimester. Drinking at any stage of pregnancy can affect the brain as well as growth That from the March of Dimes website..

However if you want more indepth I went to medline this article :This study explores the effects of light maternal ethanol consumption during pregnancy on the appearance of minor malformations in neonates as well as on the contractile properties of their umbilical cord arteries (UCAs). Clinical external findings of newborns of women declaring light ethanol consumption during any period of their pregnancies [ethanol-exposed group (E group), n=79] were compared with those of nonexposed mothers [nonexposed to ethanol group (NE group), n=100]. Women who smoked or had any associated pathology were excluded. E group mothers consumed, on average, 200-250 mL ethanol/trimester (upper limit 700 mL/trimester). Sixty-six percent of the neonates in the E group presented at least one minor malformation (retromicrognathia and minor anomalies of the auricular/preauricular area were the more common), whereas only 16% of the NE group did (p=0.0000). The percentage of children exhibiting Apgar scores <7 was significantly greater in the E group (11% versus 2%, p=0.0119). UCAs from the E group developed significantly less contractile force (p<0.05) than those of the NE group when exposed to 1 microM serotonin (5-HT) or to a high K+ depolarizing solution. This difference persisted after inhibition of endothelial release of nitric oxide (NO) and prostacyclin. In conclusion, even light drinking should be considered a risk during pregnancy.

Sunday, September 09, 2007, 5:57 PM

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It is dangerous to drink when you are pregnant -- the first three weeks you are pregnant and KEY developmental stuff is going on. Unfortunately, this is also when mothers are least likely to know about the pregnancy.....

Monday, September 10, 2007, 7:36 AM

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what is wrong with you? how selfish can people be? if you can't go nine months without drinking (yeah, right. it's not for you, it's for your developing baby), how are you going to deal with the other required sacrifices a new mother has to make? who are you, britney spears?

Monday, September 10, 2007, 9:01 AM

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wow. it must have been a real chore for your friend to suck back those guinesses...good thing she cares enough about her baby to put herself through that.

Monday, September 10, 2007, 9:03 AM

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Wow, 9:01, a Britney Spears reference? Are you 17?

I don't agree at all with this friend of the OP and her choices about her pregnancy, but if you don't even know the girl, how can you be so harshly judgmental? People live and they learn, and if the baby is born with some kind of defect due to the alcohol consumption, then I guess she'll learn real quick not to be such a boozer in future pregnancies. What's done is done.

Monday, September 10, 2007, 9:13 AM

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so you're suggesting that it's better advice to tell someone to sit back, do what you want and wait and see what happens than to look at others mothers who obviously don't put their children first and witness the consequences before making the same mistakes? i mention britney sprears because she is on every magazine cover and (yikes) even news program these days with regard to her lack of parenting skills. she's someone most people know about. there has already been extensive research that proves that alsohol consumption contributes to birth defects and learning/developmental disorders/hardships. you think every mother should retest that theory for herself until she learns better? have another shot...

Monday, September 10, 2007, 9:23 AM

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"Have another shot." Very mature, considering I was saying that I agree with you on the alcohol issue, I was just stating that you came across as extremely harsh.

And, as I previously stated, nothing can be done now. If you read the original post, she said that her friend is EIGHT MONTHS along. What do you want her friend to do, rewind to the day of conception?

You obviously wouldn't drink while pregnant, and neither would I. And I understand the concept of trying to protect children, but there is nothing you can do about what someone else will do to their body. The 5:57 poster from September 9th had a much better approach by posting excellent information about why exactly someone shouldn't drink while pregnant, for future reference to the OP and her friend. Just exclaiming "WHY ARE YOU SO SELFISH?" will solve nothing. That was my point.

Monday, September 10, 2007, 9:46 AM

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"why are you so selfish" is a question, to be asked of oneself when wondering about drinking alcohol during pregnancy. it is not an exclamation. when pregnant women stop and ask themselves this question if trying to decide about having an alcoholic beverage or not, maybe they will be persuaded to think outside of their own wants.

Monday, September 10, 2007, 9:51 AM

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