What is a safe level of alcohol consumption for pregnant women to avoid fetal alcohol syndrome? Many pregnant women are at crossroads regarding consumption of alcohol. Some doctors tend to recommend occasional light drinking is fine while another group is opposed. For years doctors have known heavy drinking is harmful to the mother and the fetus. However, the likely impacts of occasional light drinking on the unborn baby are not exhaustively understood.
The right amount of alcohol
The greatest challenge, no definite amount of alcohol is approved to be safe during pregnancy. Various Obstetricians agree that there is no particular amount safe at stage of pregnancy and it is also challenging to foresee the impact since women are different and the breakdown on alcohol is different too. When a woman with lower enzymes drink, she places her unborn child on danger and her body may retain alcoholic substances for long period compared to those with higher enzyme levels.
Another fact is that no time has been declared safe during pregnancy to create a window for consuming alcohol. Diverse studies have shown substantially even light drinking is harmful; it can result into stillbirth, sudden infant syndrome or as well miscarriage. When a pregnant woman consumes alcohol she does so along with her unborn child (Nathanson,2007). Thus any level of alcohol consumed passes through the placenta to the developing baby. The danger with such case is that developing babies have lacks the capacity to digest and metabolize any element of alcohol in their organs such as liver. Unfortunately they absorb all the substance consumed and this leaves them with same alcohol level as is with the mother.
Numerous research evaluations have illustrated that alcohol consumption by pregnant women is the major cause of smooth philtrum, reduced birth weight, thin vermillion border, and microcephaly which are linked with specific gestational timing of prenatal alcoholic consumption (Stratton,et al,2009). Also low alcohol consumption has been cited as a primary factor for spontaneous abortion.
In regard to alcohol usage by pregnant women it has been found that expectants mothers who have had drink in the course of their pregnancy have children with various behaviors, notably, hostility and felonious are among such behaviors. Another study established that girls whose mothers drank alcohol during pregnancy are more likely to suffer from mental disorders (Nathanson, 2007).
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is thus a lifelong problem; it is characterized by abnormal facial attributes, poor growth both in womb and after birth as well as damaged central nervous system. From the various views noted, no specific volume of alcohol has ever been proposed. Possibly alcohol intake would only be determined by the involved mother-to-be.
There is no concrete scientific support for the much hyped pregnant women on alcoholism. Many women are forced to believe that even a single shot of alcohol can ignite FAS. No clinical evidence that can support the argument drinking on daily basis can actually harm the fetus. The danger is actually found among heavy drinkers who even during pregnancy don’t stop drinking.
Since majority of women do not drink or have never used alcohol in its raw form apart from foods, it would be important to point out that though alcohol could cause injuries to both the mother and the child, the best way is to avoid alcohol altogether to avoid the inevitable.
Nathanson, V.(2007). Is it all right for women to drink small amounts of alcohol in pregnancy?
No. British Medical Journal , 335, 857.
Stratton, K., Howe, C., & Battaglia, F. (2009) .Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Diagnosis,
Epidemiology, Prevention, and Treatment. Washington, DC: National Academy Press,