Now that you are carrying a living being in your womb, you may begin to study about your condition.
You go through books, articles, even consultations and peer sharing to better understand the changes your body are going through and how to improve your baby’s development.
The tips, advices, all the dos and don’ts can be overwhelming.
One thing you are for sure to learn is about the many restrictions that comes with being pregnant.
From the food that you cannot eat to activities or habits that you have to change, everything to accommodate the growing child in your belly.
This has yet to include the physical limitations that comes naturally when your baby bump is becoming bigger and more visible.
Phew, that is a lot to proses!
Hang in there, mommy-to-be, this is only the first step to parenthood and with worry aside, pregnancy can be one of the most blessed months of your life. *hugs*
Now to the topic at hand!
Out of the many beverages, alcohol is one of those that experts are always advising to avoid, especially during pregnancy, or when you are trying to conceive.
Even though you are told to avoid it, there are experts that believe it is okay to consume it lightly and occasionally which is about to having 1 or 2 UK units of alcohol over the stretch of a week and never to the point of drunkenness.
A unit of alcohol is equivalent to 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol.
Since different alcoholic drinks have different level of alcohol, this unit measurement is used to measure the alcohol amount one is consuming.
So if you’re pregnant, you may enjoy about half a glass of wine (76ml) at 13% ABV or half a pint of beer (250ml) at 4% ABV.
For more info, you may check out: drinkaware.co.uk
Despite the different opinions about this matter, all experts agrees that consuming alcohol in the first 3 months of pregnancy is a definite no.
Why The First 3 Months?
The first 3 months of pregnancy are the most crucial moments of your baby’s development.
During this time, your baby is building its fundamental cells, organs, and brain matter that will serve as the foundation of your baby’s body.
The development during the first 3 months can affect them in their whole lifetime.
Not to mentioned that during this period your risk of miscarriage is also high because your body is still adjusting to your pregnancy and the connection between you and the baby (the placenta) is still under development.
See how your baby develop weekly:
What’s That? You Had A Drink Because You Didn’t Know You Were Pregnant?
This is actually more common that you think.
Not a lot of women noticed that they are already pregnant before the symptoms starts kicking in unless they are planning to.
You may have had a few glasses some days before getting the big news and it is okay.
Nonetheless, the effects of alcohol still applicable to your baby.
The best thing you can do now is to clean your system by avoiding any more consumption of alcohol.
Heavy intake of alcohol, even outside of pregnancy, has numerous negative effects to the body.
The reason why pregnant women are told to steer clear of alcohol is because once consumed the alcohol will dissipate into the bloodstream where it may end up passing through into the placenta and into your baby’s system.
Due to the baby’s liver does not mature yet, it cannot process alcohol well and too much exposure to it can affect the baby’s development.
The baby inside you eats what you eat, and drinks what you drink, would you offer your baby alcohol?
Effect of Drinking Alcohol While Pregnant
Other than miscarriages, premature birth, and stillbirth, your baby also has a chance to develop conditions that will affect them for the rest of their lives.
A known condition is the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
These two conditions are not fatal but babies who are diagnose with this condition will definitely face difficulty as they grow.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a group of condition that may affect the physical, mental, and also behaviour of the child.
Some symptoms or disabilities caused by this disorder are deformed facial features, poor coordination, poor memory, sleep and latching problems, or problems with their heart, kidney, and bones.
Children with FASD also have a trouble of focusing or being attentive.
Having said all that, it is also wise to mentioned that there is no recorded safe amount of safe time to consume alcohol during pregnancy.
So, in order to keep the risk at a minimum, it is best to simply avoid alcohol altogether.
How Long Do I Have To Avoid Alcohol?
Drinking alcohol should be minimized or avoided all throughout your pregnancy and breastfeeding year which is about 2 years and possibly more depending on how long you are breastfeeding your child.
You need to avoid alcohol when nursing because alcohol can be present in your breastmilk.
However, alcohol in breastmilk are not known to harm your child.
Alcohol can be present in your breastmilk for hours depending on how much alcohol was consumed.
The length of time the alcohol is present in your bloodstream depends on the amount you consumed, how fast it was consumed, whether you consumed it with food, your weight, and how fast your body breaks down the alcohol.
Similarly to when you are pregnant, the alcohol consumption should be limited to 1 to 2 unit and up to 1 glass in a week.
If you had a drink, you would have to wait at least 2 hours before nursing your baby to ensure that the alcohol has been proses by your body.
The highest level of alcohol is present during the first 30 minutes of consumption.
Alcohol intake when breastfeeding may also cause poor milk expression or low milk supply.
Pumping & Dumping
Pumping your breast to relieve it of “alcohol-infused milk” is not possible because the alcohol level available in the breastmilk will only decrease when the alcohol level in your bloodstream decreases.
So, as long as the alcohol level in your body is high, your body will produce keep producing milk with high level of alcohol content.
All you would do by pumping and dumping is wasting precious breastmilk.
Does Avoiding Alcohol Includes The Alcohol In Cooking?
Yes, it does but using small amount of it in your cooking would be fine.
Leaving the alcohol to simmer in an open pot or pan for at least 40 minutes or more could decrease the alcohol level present in the food.
Although, there will still be traces of alcohol, it is not enough to cause harm to your baby.
The length of time you’ll need to simmer it however depends on the beverage that you are using for your cooking since different beverage has different alcohol strength.
You can also try putting the alcohol early when cooking rather than later.
Otherwise, you can always use a substitute for the alcohol.
Alcohol can affect your pregnancy in many ways, hence why doctors are advising for mothers to stay away from it.
If you find it difficult to do so, you may consult with your doctor to seek solutions.
Nevertheless, having a sip from time to time would be fine.