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Is it safe for you to take alcohol during pregnancy?

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 Should you be taking alcohol during pregnancy? (Photo: iStock)

You will constantly run into two or more women and men alike arguing about taking alcohol during pregnancy. Some will contend that switching from stronger alcohols like vodkas and whiskeys to milder options like beers and wines is acceptable.

But is alcohol of any kind safe to consume while pregnant?

It is important to remember that whatever you eat and drink is directly shared with your unborn baby through the placenta and this goes for alcohol.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy especially during the first three months when vital organs are developing. Alcohol can cause problems for the baby throughout pregnancy, even before a woman knows she is pregnant.


Alcohol use during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and a range of lifelong physical, behavioural, and intellectual disabilities to the baby. These disabilities are known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs).

If you are in doubt, the following are potential issues that your unborn child may suffer from if you continue taking alcohol while pregnant

Delayed development

This is one of the earliest signs that your child is suffering from FASDs. While other normal children will be reaching their milestones at the right time, your baby will take a little longer to develop.

They are also likely to be below average height and weight since they won't be getting the same nutrition as other babies.

Birth defects

Since alcohol intake will hinder the baby's major organs from developing properly, your baby is likely to suffer from birth defects like heart problems, kidney failures and vision problems and loss of hearing.

In some cases, a small head, deformed limbs and fingers.

Behavioural disorders

While any baby can be a victim of behavioural disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), alcohol use increases these chances five times over.

Also other than behavioural disorders, this will also lower their IQ.

Poor social skills

Since they won't be able to move as first or have the perfect speech as their age mates, chances are their social skills will not be at par.

This means that for them to be even half as capable as other children, they will need to see speech therapists and many other specialists.

Tip: To protect your baby all you have to do is give the bottle a rest. However, if you just learned you are pregnant and are having trouble quitting the bottle, seek medical intervention immediately.

Also, remember that alcohol can easily pass through breastmilk and a baby that is repeatedly exposed to alcohol while breastfeeding may still suffer from mental and movement development problems.

However, if you must drink, a single bottle a day is not harmful and also you will have to wait up to two hours before you can breastfeed.

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