Alcohol & PregnancyIf you drink alcohol when pregnant, even a small amount, you run the risk of damaging your unborn child.
Researchers don't know how much alcohol is 'safe' to drink when pregnant. They do know that the risk of damage to your unborn baby increases the more you drink and that binge drinking is especially harmful.
No alcohol is the best and safest choice.
What are the risks if I drink while pregnant or planning to conceive?If you drink heavily during pregnancy, a particular group of problems could develop, known as Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Children with FAS have restricted growth, distinctive facial features including small eyes and flat area between the nose and upper lip, and lifelong learning and behaviour problems.
Regularly drinking in pregnancy and binge drinking can still lead to less severe forms of FAS, known as Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Although FASD babies can look healthy, their brains are permanently damaged.
At what stage in pregnancy will drinking cause damage?The stage in pregnancy in which the mother is drinking determines what damage the alcohol may cause. The first 12 weeks of pregnancy is when the baby’s limbs and organs are developing. This is where the most severe physical damage can occur.
There is no ‘safe time’ for drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Your baby’s central nervous system, including brain growth, happens throughout the pregnancy.
I continued to drink alcohol before I realised I was pregnant, will my baby be affected?If you have already been drinking small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy, be reassured that the risk of harm to your baby is low.
Why is no alcohol the best choice?It is the only way to be sure that you are giving your unborn baby the best chance as FAS and FASD are entirely preventable.
Of course, other factors also play a part in the development of an unborn baby. It is important to have a healthy diet, and not to smoke or take other drugs.