Late life pregnancy and alcohol

Patient

Q: I am 42 years old and about 9 weeks pregnant. I thought that when i missed my first period it had to due with memopause as i have missed periods before and been told by my doctor that at my age this was normal. However, when i missed my second period i went in for a pregnancy test and sure enough i am pregnant. Unfortunately, I have over indulged in alcohol 3 times since i concieved and am wondering how much damage this may have done to the baby. This is not my first child, i have three already the youngest of which was born 15 years ago.

Doctor

A:   I understand your concern about alcohol in pregnancy. Certainly Ingesting alcohol during pregnancy may cause damage in the development of your baby. Because all the organs of the fetus are forming, they are particularly vulnerable to toxic substances, especially during the first three months of pregnancy.
It's never too late to improve your child's chances at good health by cutting down on your drinking, or safer still, by not drinking at all. Developmental problems in the fetus are generally linked to excessive, chronic drinking.
Researchers have not been able to determine the exact amount of alcohol that is "safe" for the development of the fetus. We do know, however, that the risks of miscarriage, birth defects, growth retardation and mental disorders increase the more the mother drinks, and the more frequently she drinks. Moderate, occasional drinking is a responsible approach for a pregnant woman. However, not drinking at all is even safer. It is not possible to know or diagnose problems in the fetus related to alcohol before he is born. I would suggest you to stop alcohol completely comply with your pre natal controls report the timing and amount of alcohol consumption to your health care provider and don’t forget to take pre natal vitamins especially containing folic acid and iron. I wish you a successful pregnancy.

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