Pregnant women who drink alcohol directly affect the development of their babies. This can lead to lower intelligence, health, behavioral problems, and other fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).
What is FASD?
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders describes the range of the many negative effects that can occur in a child whose mother drank alcohol excessively during pregnancy.
How can alcohol affect Your Child?
Consumption of alcohol during pregnancy may lead to abnormal appearance, short height, low body weight, small head size, poor coordination, low intelligence, and problems with hearing or seeing. It can also lead to mental health problems, behavior problems, and learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications.
The damage to Your Child’s face
The damage done by alcohol during pregnancy is so severe that it affects intelligence and even changes the expressions of certain genes and, therefore, the face’s shape. This happens when alcohol leads to what is called a fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Children with FAS show signs of several abnormalities on their facial features:
- A smooth philtrum – the groove between the nose and upper lip flattens
- Thin vermilion – the upper lip thins
- Small palpebral fissures – eye width decreases
How much alcohol is safe?
While drinking small amounts of alcohol does not cause facial abnormalities – it may cause behavioral issues or lower intelligence. There is no recommended amount or period to drink alcohol during pregnancy. After all, every drop of alcohol that you drink will find its way to Your Child.
What to do if I did drink?
The most important thing is that you have completely stopped drinking after learning that you are pregnant. Your Child will be thankful for every drop you spare from today onwards. It’s not that one drink does the damage, but every additional drop of alcohol will affect the wellbeing of little Your Child today and forever.
Some suggestions to help you stop drinking alcohol
- Instead of alcohol, drink other beverages like fresh juice or soft drinks
- Stay away from situations or places where you usually drink, like parties or bars
- Get rid of all the alcohol in your home
- Tell your partner and your friends and family that you’re not drinking alcohol during pregnancy, and ask them to help and support you
- Talk with your partner, a family member, or a friend about your problems and concerns – don’t keep your problems to yourself
If you can’t stop drinking and need help to stop drinking, talk to your doctor. They can refer you for counseling or treatment.