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 your pregnancy without inflicting damage to your baby’s development, so it is best to avoid drinking while you are expecting completely.

It is strongly advised that you avoid alcohol in the first three months of your pregnancy for those who do decide to drink. After this, you should strictly limit your intake to no more than a single unit once or twice a week.

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.

 

Heavy alcohol consumption and pregnancy

The more alcohol you drink while pregnant, the greater the risk to your baby’s development. Common problems that can occur 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

 

Foetal alcohol syndrome

This syndrome is relevant to babies born to mothers who consumed heavy amounts of alcohol during their pregnancy. Symptoms 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 fetus’s liver is underdeveloped, it instead relies on the mothers liver to help metabolise the alcohol.

The big reason alcohol passing into the fetus 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.

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 week six and nine of their pregnancy, which is when most of the baby’s facial features are formed.

 

I’m struggling to quit alcohol while pregnant.

Craving some wine during pregnancyIf you find it difficult to eliminate alcohol due to your pregnancy, you should not feel bad or guilty. 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 risk doing severe damage to your health and that of your unborn baby. Physical symptoms that can affect you include an increased risk of raised blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, diabetes and liver disease. Heavy drinking can also affect your mental health. You may experience mood swings, aggression, anxiety, depression and even suicidal feelings if you become highly reliant on alcohol. As a result, relationships with loved ones can suffer, as well as your ability to do your job and carry out simple daily tasks. 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. These will vary from person to person. Some people may not experience any at all, but most commonly reported is violent shaking, raised temperature, feeling sick, hallucinations, feeling disorientated, fitting 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

A first immediate step 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 also 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.

 

How we can help

Therapist congratulating woman on progressIf 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 that want to emancipate themselves from alcohol problems. 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 to curb your cravings for a drink. We encourage mindfulness activities such as meditation and counselling to re-adjust 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 pregnant. At Ocean Recovery, we can help you live a life free from the oppression of alcohol issues and focus on a healthy pregnancy. We have a compassionate approach to every kind of addiction, and offer rehab treatments in luxury accommodation based in Blackpool, with beautiful vistas overlooking the sea and Blackpool Beach. We want your stay with us to be about relaxation, calm and comfort, and offer lots of therapies to help you on your journey and stay sober for good.

All of our staff members are deeply passionate and committed to supporting their clients at all times, and exercise the utmost discretion and understanding. Get in touch with us at Ocean Recovery today if you would like help and support with your alcohol intake during your pregnancy.

 

Sources

https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/drinking-alcohol-while-pregnant/#:~:text=Drinking%20alcohol%2C%20especially%20in%20the,greater%20the%20more%20you%20drink.

https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/alcohol-fertility-and-pregnancy/foetal-alcohol-syndrome-fas

https://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/

 

John Gillen - Director at Ocean Recovery
John Gillen

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.