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      Alcohol During Pregnancy: Risks and Negative Impact on the Baby

      Pregnancy Journey

      Alcohol During Pregnancy: Risks and Negative Impact on the Baby

      Updated on 26 August 2023

      Are you expecting and want to sip some alcohol during pregnancy? Then you must know that there is no safe amount or time to drink alcohol during pregnancy. Drinking alcohol while pregnant can result in long-term harm to the baby. Hence, the safest approach is to avoid drinking liquor in pregnancy.

      In this article, we will discuss about the consumption of liquor in pregnancy, the effect of alcohol on pregnancy and baby and how to stay away from alcohol during pregnancy.

      Is Alcohol Use Safe During Pregnancy?

      According to experts worldwide, women should absolutely avoid alcohol use during pregnancy or when trying to get pregnant. All types of alcohol, including beer and wine, can cause long-term harm to your baby. The more alcohol you drink, the greater the risk to your baby. For delivering a healthy baby drinking alcohol must be avoided at all costs.

      Also like: Red wine during pregnancy: Side Effects & Guidelines

      What Effects does Alcohol have on my Unborn Child?

      Any amount of alcohol present in the mother's blood reaches her baby through the umbilical cord. The effect of alcohol on pregnancy includes stillbirth and miscarriage. The effects of consuming alcohol in pregnancy are lifelong physical, intellectual and behavioral disabilities. Such disabilities also carry the risk of your baby developing FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder).

      What is FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder)?

      Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder refers to a group of disabilities that involves physical, behavioral, and cognitive functions and occur due to consumption of alcohol in pregnancy. this conditio can be prevented by completely avoiding hard drinks in pregancy. Symptoms of the condition can vary depending up on the particular condition and the extent of alcohol exposure like:

      1. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)

      • Different facial features like thin upper lip, smooth philtrum (area betwee nose and upper lip) and small eye openings.
      • CNS related issues like poor intellectual abilities, poor impulse control and social anxiety.
      • Learn disabilities and delay in speech and language development.

      2. Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (pFAS)

      • Some but not all of the facial features associated with FAS.
      • Growth issues and developmental delays.
      • Cognitive impairments, such as learning disabilities and difficulties with problem-solving.
      • Behavioral issues and problems with attention and impulse control.

      3. Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND)

      • Cognitive deficits, including difficulties with memory, attention, and problem-solving.
      • Behavioral problems, such as impulsivity, hyperactivity, and difficulties with social interactions.
      • Learning disabilities and academic challenges.

      4. Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD)

      • Physical abnormalities affecting various organ systems, such as heart defects, kidney problems, hearing or vision impairments, and skeletal issues.
      • Intellectual disabilities or developmental delays, depending on the extent of the birth defects.

      If you have concerns about prenatal alcohol exposure, it's important to seek guidance from healthcare professionals who specialize in developmental and behavioral disorders.

      How to Stay away from Alcohol During Pregnancy?

      Expectant mothers must avoid consuming liquor in pregnancy. Whether you’re an alcoholic or an occasional drinker, once you are pregnant, it is best to stop consuming alcohol completely. The risks of consuming alcohol in pregnancy are dose-related, and more consumption results in more harm to the baby. 

      Here are some tips to help you stay away from alcohol in pregnancy:

      1. Incorporate alternatives

      Analyse when you usually drink alcohol and plan other things to do around that time. Or you can drink other beverages like fresh fruit juice, a healthy smoothie or water.

      You may also like: 10 Best Healthy & Refreshing Homemade Pregnancy Drinks

      2. Avoid Stimulating Situations

      Try to avoid any people or situations that may tempt you to drink alcohol. Stick with people who aren’t drinking themselves.

      3. Remove stock from the house

      Get rid of all the alcoholic drinks in your house.

      4. Seek Support

      Ask for support from your partner, family and friends to help you stay away from alcohol. Ask your doctor or any other trusted person to recommend resources for help.

      5. Bond with your baby

      Take pride in all that you’re doing to have a healthy baby and thik about the little one and the magic he/she will bring to your life.

      The health risks of alcohol use during pregnancy to your baby are a great motivation for you to avoid this harmful habit. Plan your pregnancy and follow healthy habits throughout the course of your pregnancy for a healthy baby. 

      What is a unit of alcohol?

      If you’ve drunk or decide to drink during pregnancy, it’s important that you know the number of units you have or are consuming.

      In India, one unit of alcohol is equal to 10 ml of pure alcohol. The alcohol-by-volume (ABV) of each alcoholic drink is different:

      • Regular beer contains 4.9% ABV in standard 285 ml

      • Wine contains 13% ABV in standard 100 ml

      • Liquor contains 40% ABV in standard 30 ml

      Knowing the ABV content in different types of drinks can help you cut down on your alcohol consumption.

      Final Words

      If you have a problem avoiding alcohol or liquor in pregnancy, then please consult your doctor or the nearest alcohol support services. Remember, it’s never too late to stop drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Stopping alcohol consumption will improve the health outcomes of your pregnancy and your baby.


      1. Armstrong, E. M. (2017). Making Sense of Advice About Drinking During Pregnancy: Does Evidence Even Matter? The Journal of Perinatal Education, 26(2), 65–69.

      2. DEJONG, K., OLYAEI, A., & LO, J. O. (2019). Alcohol Use in Pregnancy. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, 62(1), 142–155.

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