Moderate drinking during first half of pregnancy

Patient

Q: I had a drinking problem before getting pregnant. I found out I was pregnant at 6 weeks and had been drinking almost every night till then, but abstained from drinking from then till about 14 weeks when I had a bit of a back slide. I drank about 3 drinks at a time about 6 or 7 times over the course of a few months (never more than one day in a row, and I didn't get drunk). Since about 25 weeks on, I have completely abstained again. My 19 week anatomy scan was totally normal. I am getting counselling and have no worries of starting again, but I want to know if there is a chance I have done permanent damage to my baby? I have been meticulous about nutrition throughout the whole pregnancy.

Doctor

A:   Alcohol consumption should be stopped in pregnant women or women expecting pregnancy. Alcohol has serious side effects and is teratogenic to unborn. Chances of miscarriage is very high in alcoholics. Alcohol consumption in first three months of pregnancy causes fetal alcohol syndrome, in which there is retarded growth, improper neurological development and fetal abnormalities. Consumption in late pregnancy results in IUGR, IUD, hypertension in mother, preterm gestation, etc. Since 19th week scan was normal, your baby is lucky enough to bypass the side effects. But its high time to realize and stay completely away from alcohol till you stop lactating your baby. Get regular checkup with your gynecologist for healthy mother and baby.

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