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Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Alcohol and conception

If women drink alcohol more than once or twice a week, or more than 1-2 units of alcohol each time, they may affect their menstrual cycle and fertility levels.

According to research, the consumption of alcohol while trying to conceive may affect a woman’s chances of getting pregnant and increase the risk of miscarriage.

A woman does not know that she is pregnant during the first weeks of pregnancy. By not dinking while trying to conceive, the fetus will not be exposed to alcohol and its potential harm during the critical early development of the fetus.

Drinking during pregnancy

If you drink during pregnancy, alcohol penetrates the placenta and enters the blood of the fetus. As the fetus continues to develop, its liver needs more time to break down the alcohol, potentially exposing its organs and tissues to alcohol.

Since no safe level for drinking during pregnancy has been established, the best advice for pregnant women or those trying to conceive is not to drink alcohol.

In the first three months of pregnancy, the consumption of large amounts of alcohol may damage the developing organs and the nervous system. The continuous excessive drinking for the next six months may have additional effects, such as retardation of the development, which may lead to behavioural and physical problems when the baby is born.

A good diet, sufficient amounts of fluid and abstinence from smoking and alcohol during pregnancy provide a healthy environment to the unborn baby.

Breastfeeding

Alcohol is excreted from a mother’s milk at a rate of one unit of alcohol every two hours.

So it is best to avoid drinking while breastfeeding or to plan to express milk if you are going to drink alcohol later. Alcohol in the mother’s blood passes to milk and may cause irritation or sleep disturbance, or make the milk less nutritious. It can also reduce the amount of milk produced.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

The term “Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder” (FASD) covers a range of behavioural and physical problems that may result from the consumption of large amounts of alcohol during pregnancy.

They have been classified as follows:

• Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
• Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (pFAS)
• Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD)
• Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopment Disorder (ARND).

The syndromes, defects or disorders are sometimes accompanied by other behavioural disorders, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
FASD isnotgenetic, inheritedorcurable. Not all children of women who drink during pregnancy will suffer from FASD, but according to research the large consumption of alcohol during pregnancy increase the chances of damage to the fetus.
Some of the physical and behavioural problems are the following:
• Retardation of prenatal growth and low birth weight
• Dysfunction of the central nervous system
• Characteristic facial malformations (FAS)
• Heart and kidney defects
• Impairment of the hearing and sight
• Limited joint movement
• Hernias
• Cleft lip and palate
• Brain damage