Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy

If you usually enjoy a drink or two, we understand that it can be frustrating to go tee-total if you’re pregnant, but this is the best and safest approach to adopt to ensure that your baby is safe from harm as it grows and develops. Being pregnant is a great opportunity to gain freedom from alcohol.

There is a common misconception and belief that there is a ‘safe’ amount of alcohol consumed during pregnancy (a bit like drinking and driving). Expectant mothers should know that there is no ‘safe’ amount of alcohol that can be consumed during their pregnancy without inflicting damage to their baby’s development, so it is best to avoid drinking while you are expecting completely.

Drinking alcohol and pregnancy is not something that should be mixed, as it can lead to health problems in yourself and your child. It is strongly advised that you avoid alcohol throughout your pregnancy to ensure development is normal and avoid conditions such as foetal alcohol syndrome.

If you were drinking heavy amounts of alcohol before you realised you were pregnant, seek medical advice from a GP or midwife, especially if you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms from drinking excessively.


Dangers of Drinking Alcohol and Pregnancy

The more alcohol you drink while pregnant, the greater the risk to your baby’s development. Common problems that can occur to your child as a result of drinking while pregnant include:

  • Stillbirth
  • Early miscarriage
  • Premature birth
  • Damage to brain development
  • Under-development in the womb
  • Infant illness
  • Foetal alcohol syndrome
  • Poor memory
  • Speech and development delays
  • Low IQ
  • Vision and hearing issues
  • Low body weight and height
  • Changes to facial features

It is important to avoid alcohol during pregnancy to avoid health and development problems with your baby. If you have been drinking alcohol heavily before realising you are pregnant, speak to your GP for advice and abstain from alcohol as soon as possible.

Pregnancy and alcoholism can also be a dangerous combination, so it is key to reach out for support as soon as possible for the health of you and your child.


How Much Alcohol is Dangerous?

The effects of alcohol and pregnancy can be risky, as developmental problems can be caused by drinking alcohol whilst pregnant. This can include a small head shape, heart, kidney, and bone problems, language delays and learning difficulties.

Drinking alcohol can also be dangerous for pregnant women, as they are more likely to experience high blood pressure and other side effects. Although it is recommended to drink no alcohol during pregnancy, the less you have the better it is for you and your baby.

It is common for people to drink during pregnancy during the start of the first trimester before they are aware that they are pregnant. Speak to a medical professional for more information if this relates to you.

Alcohol and Early Pregnancy

Drinking alcohol during all stages of pregnancy is not safe, but if you have consumed large amounts during the first trimester or were unaware that you were pregnant, it is important to stop consumption as soon as possible and speak to a doctor such as your GP.

If you suffer from alcohol addiction and have become unexpectedly pregnant, it is recommended that you reach out to rehab or your GP to complete a full detox.


Risks of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome

FAS can occur in babies born to mothers who consumed heavy amounts of alcohol during their pregnancy. Symptoms of foetal alcohol syndrome include growth deformities, heart problems, mental issues and development problems.

How Does Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) Develop?

Numerous studies have been carried out on how FAS develops, and most studies indicate that alcohol travels to the foetus through the bloodstream. As the foetus’s liver is underdeveloped, it instead relies on the mother’s liver to help metabolise the alcohol.

The big reason alcohol passing into the foetus is such a serious problem is the lack of oxygen and nutrients needed for the organs and brain to grow properly.

Most findings have also shown that white matter, which is the part of the brain responsible for processing information faster, can be especially sensitive to alcohol. The substance can severely disrupt the development of this in foetuses.

Along with this, the time in which individuals drink during pregnancy can also contribute to babies developing facial deformities that are a result of FAS. This was mostly found in mothers who drink in the first three weeks during weeks six and nine of their pregnancy, which is when most of the baby’s facial features are formed.


Struggling to Quit Alcohol While Pregnant?

Person considering drinking alcohol during pregnancy

If you find it difficult to quit drinking alcohol during your pregnancy, you should not feel bad or guilty, and instead reach out for help as soon as possible. We can help at Ocean Recovery if you require support in being tee-total during your pregnancy. We have a range of treatments available that can help those with alcohol dependency to get back on track to a life that isn’t dictated by thoughts of alcohol, which is especially important when you are expecting a baby.

If you are pregnant and struggling to quit heavy drinking, you may damage your health and the health of your unborn baby. Some of the physical health problems that can affect you includes stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, liver disease, diabetes and more.

Heavy drinking can also affect your mental health. This can result in mood swings, aggressive behaviour, and symptoms of depression and anxiety. In some cases, you can actually lose your job due to excess drug use or alcohol use.

When you do not drink, you may experience sudden side effects which can become debilitating, especially difficult during pregnancy. Symptoms can vary from person to person; some people may not experience withdrawal symptoms at all, but in others, commonly reported symptoms include violent shaking, raised temperature, feeling sick, hallucinations, feeling disorientated, and sweating.

Psychologically, you may experience feelings of irritation, low mood and restlessness, with a strong desire to consume alcohol. If this applies to you, get in touch with us at Ocean Recovery.


Cutting Out Alcohol While Pregnant

The first immediate step to cut out alcohol while pregnant is to try and reduce the amount of alcohol you are consuming. You can do this by taking breaks from drinking, which will lower your risk of dependency and help the damage done to your unborn baby.

Other ways you can cut out alcohol while pregnant include exercising, mindfulness, taking up a hobby (such as a gentle yoga class), going for a walk or doing exercise whenever you feel the need to drink, and talking to an organisation that can help put you back in control through speech therapy, such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

It is vital to cut out alcohol while pregnant for the health of your baby, but this can be very difficult if you suffer from alcohol addiction or abuse. If this applies to you, reach out for professional advice today.


How We Can Help with Alcohol and Pregnancy

Therapist congratulating woman on progress for quitting alcohol during pregnancy

If you think you might need help or rehabilitation for alcohol dependence or addiction while pregnant, contact us at Ocean Recovery. We want your rehab to be as comfortable and successful as possible.

Our professional team are very experienced in planning detoxes that help and support those who want to overcome alcohol problems, and this includes alcohol and pregnancy. We can give you effective guidance through a bespoke programme that focuses on healing your body, mind and soul with holistic practices that help you curb your cravings for a drink.

We encourage mindfulness activities such as meditation and counselling to readjust your mindset and help you focus on relaxation and recuperation without distractions.

Anyone from any background can suffer from alcohol problems, but it is doubly important to tackle these if you are struggling with being pregnant and alcohol abuse. At Ocean Recovery, we can help you live a life free from the oppression of alcohol issues and focus on a healthy pregnancy.

Ocean Recovery is located in Blackpool upon the pier with sea views and offers a relaxing and comfortable environment to recover in. The rehab treatments we offer can help people with all types of addictions and our team works hard to ensure you are comfortable.

Our team of medical professionals are available to support you around the clock, so you feel safe. Contact the team at Ocean Recovery for help and support with your alcohol intake during your pregnancy today on 0800 880 7596.


John Gillen - Author - Last updated: May 13, 2024

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.