Drinking When Pregnant
There are still a large number of women who drink during their pregnancy. Drinking during pregnancy can cause long term harm to your baby and the more you drink, the greater the risk.
When you drink, alcohol passes from your blood through the placenta and to your baby. A baby’s liver is one of the last organs to develop and doesn’t mature until the later stages of pregnancy.
Your baby cannot process alcohol as well as you can, and too much exposure to alcohol can seriously affect their development. Drinking alcohol, especially in the first three months of pregnancy, increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth and your baby having a low birth weight.
Drinking after the first three months of your pregnancy could affect your baby after they’re born.
The risks are greater the more you drink. The effects include learning difficulties and behavioural problems.
Drinking heavily throughout pregnancy can cause your baby to develop a serious condition called foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Children with FAS have:
- Poor growth
- Facial abnormalities
- Learning and behavioural problems
Drinking less heavily, and even drinking heavily on single occasions, may be associated with lesser forms of FAS. The risk is likely to be greater the more you drink.