Prenatal exposure to alcohol is among the most essential causes of the preventable
cognitive impairment across the globe. The neurological system that undergoes progressive
development during pregnancy is exquisitely sensitive to lots of harm from the consumed
alcohol. Researchers have found substantial evidence regarding the same and alcohol related
harm tend to extend beyond the individual person. This is what results in intergenerational
vulnerability, epigenetic changes, and disadvantages. There is need to insist on the fact that there
is no known or recommended safe timing or level of drinking for lactating and pregnant women.
Drinking while pregnant is very dangerous as it has proven to result in long-term harm to
the baby. There is need to note that the risk increases with the increase in drinking. Alcohol
passes from the blood of the mother through the placenta to the fetus when she drinks. The liver
of the baby is among the very last organs to develop during pregnancy. It does not mature until
the very later stages of the pregnancy (Russell, 2005). This brings out the notion that the fetus
cannot process the alcohol well. Hence, the exposure to alcohol severely results in the
interference of their development. As a matter of fact, drinking of alcohol during pregnancy
doubles the actual risk of premature birth, miscarriage, and the baby having a low birthweight. It
can further affect the baby after they are born.
The idea of drinking while pregnant can result in the baby developing a serious condition
known as fetus alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). The condition causes issues with muscles,
bones, joints, and some other organs. It also interferes with behavior and learning. FASD further
causes issues with impulse control, hyperactivity, developing social skills and managing
emotions. The baby may have issues with communication, including problems with speech.
Alcohol crosses the placenta through the umbilical cord. This alcohol has proven detrimental for
the growing and developing fetus (World Health Organization, 2014).
Children with FASDs practically experience a wide range of issues that include both
developmental and intellectual disabilities. These are issues with the manner in which the brain
works, and they are the cause of the baby having trouble communicating, learning, getting along
with others, and having trouble in learning. Children with FASDs further have delays or issues in
physical development (Spohr & Steinhausen, 1996). It is important to note that the disorders
normally last a lifetime. It is binge drinking during pregnancy that double the chances of a
mother having a baby with fetus alcohol spectrum disorder. Binge drinking can be described as
taking four or more drinks in a span of two to three hours.
High blood alcohol concentrations also play the role of interfering with the important
nutrients that cross the placenta to get to the fetus when the pregnant woman drinks heavily.
Alcohol takes around two hours for the blood alcohol level of the fetus to reach that of the
mother after she ingests some alcohol. Any amount of this alcohol ideally remains in the system
of the fetus for longer periods as compared to that of the mother (National Indian Fetal Alcohol
Syndrome Prevention Program., & All Indian Pueblo Council, 1986). This is because the alcohol
metabolism of the fetus is much slower. Hence, the baby is practically exposed to alcohol for
longer hours if a pregnant woman drinks fin high volumes or frequently.
Alcohol has a higher probability of causing birth defects. All mothers ought to know that
alcohol consumption during their pregnancy is the primary and leading preventable cause of the
defects of birth. Birth defects can be described as structural changes to the body that are ideally
present at birth. The alcohol, therefore, act as a teratogen, which can be defined as any agent that
primarily causes fetal abnormality during the pregnancy period. The effect of alcohol on
structural and physical development usually manifest in a number of birth defects that include
below average weight and height, issues with hearing and eyesight, and kidney, heart, and bone
problems. The baby further experiences abnormal facial characteristics that ideally include a
smooth ridge between the upper lip and nose, wide-spaced eyes, a thin upper lip, a flat nasal
bridge, as well as an upturned nose.
Women who drink during their pregnancy period expose their own health to a number of
risks. Some of the effects that they experience as a result of drinking while pregnant include
gestational diabetes, nutritional deficiency, high blood pressure, and dehydration and vomiting.
The situation brought about by the mentioned effects make them uncomfortable as they
encounter lots of stress majority of the time (Oster, 2018). Pregnant women are highly advised to
keep their babies safe from any kind of alcohol throughout the nine months. The baby cannot
have any health issues caused by alcohol or FASDs if the mother avoids consuming alcohol
Some mothers may consume alcohol while pregnant and give birth to babies who seem
healthy while others may consume little amounts of alcohol while pregnant and give birth to
babies with very severe conditions. This is to say that each pregnancy is different and the alcohol
may harm one baby more than the other. Hence, the very best and surest way of keeping the baby
safer and free from issues caused by alcohol during the nine months of pregnancy is to avoid
drinking alcohol during that entire period. Women should not consume alcohol if they think they
may be pregnant, if they are trying to get pregnant, or if they are really sure of being pregnant.
They ought to consider getting regular prenatal care when they get pregnant for proper guidance
and care from experts in health care facilities. They must open up to their health care provider if
they need any assistance to stop consuming alcohol.
There are various tips or measures that can be followed or put in place by and for
pregnant mothers to help them stop and further avoid consuming alcohol during their entire
pregnancy. First, they ought to think about when they usually drink alcohol, then consider
planning to drink other non-alcoholic drinks such as water, juice, and milk. They should also get
rid of the alcohol in their homes. This will help them to relax comfortably in their house knowing
there is nothing to drink, and this will push them to accept and stay in check with the reality.
These pregnant women must further be advised to stay far away from any kind of places or
situations where they normally get into the trap of drinking. These places include bars as well as
parties. Out of sight, out of mind. It is also important to inform family and friends that you are
not drinking alcohol anymore especially throughout the pregnancy. They will, hence, help and
will further offer to support you.
Oster, E. (2018). Expecting better: Why the conventional pregnancy wisdom is wrong–and what
you really need to know.
National Indian Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Prevention Program., & All Indian Pueblo Council.
(1986). Alcohol and pregnancy: How drinking may harm the unborn baby!. Rockville,
MD: National Indian Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Preventio Program, Indian Health Service.
Spohr, H.-L., & Steinhausen, H.-C. (1996). Alcohol, pregnancy, and the developing child.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Russell, E. (2005). Alcohol and pregnancy: A mother's responsible disturbance. Burleigh, Qld:
World Health Organization. (2014). Global status report on alcohol and health 2014. Geneva,
Switzerland: World Health Organization.