Why it is not safe for women to drink alcohol during pregnancy –Gynaecologists
Gynaecologists and obstetricians say there is no safe time during pregnancy for a woman to drink alcohol, warning that alcohol can cause developmental problems to the foetus throughout pregnancy.
The maternal health experts noted that drinking alcohol during pregnancy is dangerous even for women trying to conceive.
The gynecologists under the aegis of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists disclosed this in a statement posted on their website as part of efforts to raise awareness on the risk of developing Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.
September which is FASDs Awareness Month, the experts said, provided an opportunity to share that there is no known safe amount, no safe time, and no safe type of alcohol during pregnancy.
According to them, the term foetal alcohol spectrum disorders describe a collection of conditions that can occur in individuals whose mothers drank alcohol during pregnancy.
The manifestations, they noted can include physical problems, problems with behaviour and learning, or a combination of some or all of these problems.
They stressed that there is no cure for FASDs and the effects last a lifetime, adding that prenatal alcohol consumption exposes the foetus to the health condition.
The experts stated that it is important for their colleagues to educate patients regarding foetal alcohol spectrum disorders and the risk of foetal alcohol exposure.
“While some FASDs outcomes are more likely at different times during the pregnancy, brain development, in particular, occurs throughout gestation, and growth and central nervous system problems can occur from drinking alcohol at any time.
“However, it is never too late in the pregnancy to stop drinking; the sooner a mother stops drinking during pregnancy, the less likely that symptoms will manifest or be severe,” they said.
The gynecologists cautioned that no amount of alcohol is currently deemed safe for pregnant women, stressing that there is no threshold list for alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
They explained, “Since prenatal alcohol use has been proven to affect the developing foetus through a variety of mechanisms into the endocrine, nervous, circulatory, musculoskeletal, and gastrointestinal systems, it is not possible to determine the amount and timing of alcohol use that would be considered absolutely safe during pregnancy.
“All types of alcohol are equally harmful during pregnancy, including all wines and beer. When a pregnant woman consumes alcohol of any kind, so does the developing baby.
“Even light alcohol use may affect a developing foetus throughout all stages of pregnancy.”
The gynaecologists further said that Foetal Alcohol Syndrome is the most severe end of the FASD spectrum, warning that in the most extreme situations, foetal death results from drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
“People with FAS might have physical symptoms such as abnormal facial features and growth problems; central nervous system problems; problems with learning, memory, attention span, communication, vision, or hearing; or any combination of these problems.
“People with FAS often have a hard time in academic and social settings”, the maternal health specialists said.
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention says alcohol in the mother’s blood passes to the baby through the umbilical cord.