Alcohol Effects on Unborn Babies – What do we Know so Far?

Pregnancy is a special time where a mother-to-be is to rejoice for the welcoming of her baby. In order to get ready and offer the baby the best environment possible, many future parents will go through extended expenses and will invest a lot of time preparing their house to be the best for their baby.

What about the temporary house the baby will live in for nine months before being born? Is the uterus the best and most welcoming and secure environment for the unborn baby?

A couple of decades ago, many doctors delivering babies were shocked to realize that some babies were born deformed, had a general growth retardation, a small brain and a particular face. It did not take long to link this phenomenon to the fact that the mothers consumed alcohol during their pregnancy. The problem was named fetal alcohol syndrome.

Although we now know about fetal alcohol syndrome, it is a very common for expectant women to consume alcoholic beverages during their pregnancy. What we know so far about alcohol and pregnancy is still limited.

The medical community agrees that the fetal alcohol syndrome is caused by the mother consuming alcoholic beverages regularly or in good quantity during the pregnancy. The exact amount of alcohol that causes the damages to the unborn baby will never be determined precisely as it varies according to the mother’s weight, the stage of the pregnancy, the rapidity and the percentage of the alcohol intake and so many other factors.

Since we know that fetal alcohol syndrome causes permanent, severe and irreversible damages to the unborn baby, the best attitude is to consume no alcohol at all during the entire pregnancy. Fetal alcohol syndrome is not an inherited disease and is only caused by consuming alcohol during pregnancy. Hence, even if a woman feels she has had an alcohol problem for a long period of time during her life, if she does not take alcohol during her pregnancy, her baby will not be affected.

The medical community also agrees that the alcohol intake by the father cannot cause fetal alcohol syndrome. On the other hand, it is a well known fact that if the father drinks alcohol regularly, the mother-to-be will be more tempted to take alcohol as well.

Many babies born from mothers consuming alcohol will present will a withdrawal syndrome after birth. Such symptoms as tremors, difficulty feeding, and increased irritability are a few of the symptoms.

Taking care of our unborn babies starts by taking care of our pregnant women as a society. Such simple things as offering a pregnant woman a non-alcohol healthy fruit juice or nice glass of pure refreshing water might be the first step towards a stronger generation to come.