If you are pregnant and often wonder whether to enjoy an occasional glass of wine or beer, the universal counsel for you would be to completely abstain from consumption of alcohol. But in the recent times, the opinion has changed considerably. Due to the assorted viewpoints, the advice you receive may confuse you.
Research of several years has proven the fact that prolonged and heavy drinking have caused serious birth defects. But the effect of consuming small alcohol during embryonic stage is still in grey area.
Some of your friends might confess about their occasional drinking habits and how their baby turned out just fine, while others say they that they have completely given up on alcoholic beverages to avoid any risk whatsoever.
Even after decades of research there is still no concrete “safe limit” of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Hence it becomes very difficult for to-be-mothers to really determine if light drinking is safe for their baby.
Here are some points which you should definitely keep in mind before engaging in a light drink.
Individual Medical Conditions
The medical history of one person varies from another other person significantly. The metabolism of your body is responsible for the breakdown of alcohol compounds. A better metabolic function would ensure that your body gets rid of the neurotoxins contained in an alcoholic drink. While a weaker body metabolism would mean that the alcohol remains in your body for a longer time and consequently causes harm to the baby.
Alcohol addicts and people with a past history of binge drinking should abstain from alcohol during pregnancy because an occasional drink might trigger an insatiable urge for drinking more. As it is a known fact that heavy drinking is bad for the growth of babies, it must be ensured that in no way such a situation arises.
How much is too much?
No two pregnancies are the same. The conditions vary from person to person. Some have strong enzymes to counter the effect of alcohol and some have weak enzymes. Processing of alcohol also depends on the liver size and body size and determines the amount of alcohol reaching the foetus. So setting a fixed and safe threshold is impossible.
The associated risk of women drinking alcohol risk giving birth to a child with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). The intensity of the disorder varies from child to child depending on the amount of alcohol they have been exposed to. The disorders include speech and language problems, cognitive disabilities, abnormal body structure, etc.
Need For More Research
The opinion of the scientific community is divided on this matter. Some doctors show a green light to their patients for an occasional drink while others follow a strict policy to restrict their patients to engage even in occasional drinks.
Heavy drinking can obviously be harmful but the effect of light drinking is not yet crystal clear.
Developing babies lack the ability to process alcohol through their organs. It is a toxic substance to a developing baby and can interfere with its development. According to some doctors, the risks of miscarriage are also heightened due to alcohol consumption.
At the end of the day, every mother has to weigh the pros and cons of a casual drink. A substantially reasonable woman would certainly point out the evidence and be comfortable with one or two occasional drinks, while another equally reasonable woman would see the evidences of possible risk and may decide to abstain from alcohol completely.