Alcohol During Pregnancy
Not all women who drink during pregnancy will have a child born with fetal alcohol syndrome. However, not drinking alcohol is the only sure way to protect your baby from fetal alcohol syndrome and other fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
If you are pregnant and have been drinking, stop drinking now to protect your baby. If you need help to stop drinking, talk with your healthcare provider.
All drinks containing alcohol can hurt an unborn baby. A standard 12-ounce can of beer has the same amount of alcohol as a 4-ounce glass of wine or a 1-ounce shot of hard liquor. Some alcoholic drinks, such as malt beverages, wine coolers, and mixed drinks, often contain more alcohol than a 12-ounce can of beer. There is no safe kind of alcohol.
Some women drink alcohol during the first couple weeks of pregnancy because they did not know they were pregnant. Unfortunately, it is not possible to know what harm, if any, might have been done. Many body parts and organs are developing in the embryonic stage (from 3 weeks pregnant to 8 weeks pregnant). This is the time when most women do not know they are pregnant.
The most important thing a woman can do is to completely stop drinking after learning she is pregnant. It is never too late to stop drinking. The sooner you stop, the better the chances for your baby's health. Also, try not to be alarmed if you drank alcohol prior to knowing about your pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about this, and be sure to receive routine prenatal care throughout your pregnancy.
There are many techniques to help you stop drinking during pregnancy. You do not have to drink when other people drink. If someone gives you a drink, it is okay to say no. Stay away from people or places that make you drink. Do not keep alcohol at home.
If you cannot stop drinking, GET HELP. You may have a disease called alcoholism. There are programs that can help you stop drinking called alcohol treatment programs. Your doctor or nurse can find a program to help you. Even if you have been through a treatment program before, try it again. There are also programs designed just for women.