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Just How Bad is Alcohol During Pregnancy?

February 11, 2014 2 min read

The very first change that’s made when a woman finds out she is pregnant is to stop alcohol consumption altogether or limit it drastically.  Every single alcoholic beverage is labeled with the surgeon general’s warning that alcohol is unsafe for pregnant and breastfeeding women.  Its been known for years that alcohol has a detrimental effect on an unborn child.

But just how bad are those effects?  New research done by Dr Janni Niclasen of Copenhagen University in Denmark tracked the health of 30,000 pregnant women and their drinking habits.  The Dr. Niclasen found that just one night out of binge drinking can have long lasting effects on a child's behavior.  The children were more likely to have short attention spans and be badly behaved at age seven.  A binge was considered 7.5 units of alcohol and a large glass of wine consists of 3 units.

The impact of mothers who drank during the late stages of pregnancy was much more pronounced although subtle differences being found in children whose mothers drank early on.  Drinking during the first trimester has been known to increase the odds of miscarriage, still births, and malformations.

Alcohol, according to Dr. Niclasen, has the power to alter the way a child's brain develops with boys being more susceptible than girls.  The surgeon general's warning then isn't something to be taken lightly.  Its perhaps even more important to stay away from alcohol than was ever thought.

Alcohol, at the end of the day, is terribly toxic during pregnancy-no matter which stage the mother is in.  The potential for long lasting effects for your child isn't worth the two and a half glasses of wine it would take to define a binge.

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