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You know the saying: A pregnant woman is eating for two. When there is a baby on board, alcohol consumed is also being shared with the baby. This is a formative time. Alcohol consumed during pregnancy can have devastating, lifelong consequences to the unborn child.
It isn't even as simple as the fact that the baby's liver is not fully developed, thus cannot filter out the alcohol. It is also that alcohol is mutagenic and it impacts formation in the womb.
Because mother and child share their bloodstream, any alcohol mom drinks is shared with the baby. Alcohol is different from food. It does not get broken down before it goes into the bloodstream. Instead, it gets absorbed directly.
Thus, in this case, mom's body in no way protects the baby from this substance, which is classified as a poison. Drugs and alcohol consumed by the mom while pregnant is the leading preventable cause of developmental disabilities and birth defects in the U.S. today.
Doctors and scientists still do not have a clearly defined "safe" limit. We do not actually know if any alcohol is safe. Thus, the conservative choice is to not drink at all while pregnant, which many women choose to do rather than take a bet that, if they lose, the price may be paid by their child for the rest of its life.
Although not drinking at all while pregnant is the responsible choice and many women make that choice, knowing what is right is not enough when a woman has a history of alcoholism. Most people addicted to alcohol would just stop if they could.
Women suffering alcohol addiction need to seek help immediately if they learn they are pregnant. This is no time to pretend they can somehow kick it on their own.
Children exposed to alcohol while they are still in the womb can be born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. This can cause facial abnormalities, such as widely spaced eyes, as well as anger management issues, attention span problems and mood disorders.
Possible symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome include, but are not limited to:
If you have a history of alcohol addiction and you know you are pregnant or think you are, seek help today. Do not put it off a single day. Time is of the essence. There are certified specialists, counselors and other programs that can help you get through this challenging time.
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