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Why is it Bad to Drink Alcohol while Pregnant or Nursing?

Bun in the Oven = No Alcohol Lovin’

It’s hard to imagine that not too long ago that people were unaware that drinking alcohol while pregnant or nursing might be a bad idea. Now, it is a matter of common knowledge, or nearly so.

Those among us who would rather drink and bake at the same time, to muddle a metaphor, may ask why. Why is drinking alcohol while pregnant or nursing such a no-no?

Drinking Alcohol While Pregnant or Nursing

The simple answer is that, to an appreciable extent, a baby consumes what the mother consumes. Of course, it’s not as easy as all that, but for the sake of the baby it’s better to look at things in terms of fetal alcohol syndrome.

Fetal alcohol syndrome (also referred to as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders or fetal alcohol effects) is a catchall description for the physical and mental effects alcohol consumed by a pregnant mother may have on her unborn fetus. It can manifest in many ways, including vision and hearing problems, poor coordination, hyperactive behavior, poor memory, abnormal facial features and more.

The consumption of alcohol while pregnant is the leading cause of preventable birth defects in the United States. Statistics show that 1 in 750 babies born show signs of some damage from pregnant alcohol consumption. This is truly a stinging indictment of drinking anything with alcohol in it during pregnancy.

So, what of those people who say a glass of wine here or there is harmless?

The fact is no one knows how much alcohol it takes to put a fetus or nursing baby at risk, so the best course of action is to abstain while pregnant or nursing. Yes, it may be possible that one glass of wine will not harm your baby, but the question is what you would rather have: a glass of wine or a healthy baby?

 

Of course, I should remind everyone that our blog entries are for your information only and are not intended as medical advice. Because everyone is different, you should work with your medical professional to determine what’s best for you. If you’re going to drink, do it legally and responsibly; don’t be stupid =).


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