Dangers of Drinking Alcohol During a Pregnancy
Pregnancy can be a challenging time. There are opinions to spare as well-meaning family, friends, and even complete strangers offer you unsolicited advice for having a healthy pregnancy and raising your child.
One topic that is often raised when pregnancy is involved is the risks associated with consuming alcohol while pregnant. According to the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, there is no safe amount of alcohol you can ingest, nor is any type of alcohol safer than the rest. This is because the alcohol in the mother’s blood passes straight through the umbilical cord and into the growing baby. Fetal life is delicate, and alcohol can negatively affect the cells as they divide and duplicate.
Risks Of Alcohol During Pregnancy
There are a plethora of risks associated with consuming alcohol during your pregnancy. These include:
- Premature Birth
- Brain Damage
- Birth defects, especially those affecting the heart, eyes, hearing, kidneys, and bones
- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
- Low Birthweight
- Cognitive delays and disorders
It Is Possible To Stop Drinking
If you cannot stop drinking, despite how much you may want to, you may have an addiction. Remember, alcohol is the most commonly used drug, and is extremely addictive in nature. Do not despair, you are not alone. Recovery from drug addiction is possible, and there is an addiction recovery facility that is right for you. The first step is to admit that you have a problem, and that you need to seek help.
There are a two primary drug treatment facility options from which to choose. It is important to find one that is going to challenge you to grow beyond your addiction as well as one that has experience treating pregnant women.
The first option is an outpatient drug rehab clinic. Depending on the clinic and program structure, this can range from a daily program which lasts most of the day, all the way down to a meeting once or twice a week for a couple hours. Whatever the nature of the addiction recovery program, it is important to commit to the entire program and follow through on all assignments. It is also important to be honest with your recovery group and therapists about any challenges you may be having.
The second option is an inpatient drug rehab center. Inpatient programs typically do not last for as long outpatient options. Their focus is helping patients through the detox process and providing round the clock supervision as needed during this critical time of recovery.
Remember, you have a beautiful baby growing inside you. Why not give it the best chances in life by taking care of yourself the best you can while still pregnant?
Helping A Loved One
If you know someone who is pregnant and has an alcohol problem, it is important to help them get the help they need in a way that will benefit them and the baby. Here are a few tips on how to approach someone with an alcohol problem.
- Educate yourself on alcohol addiction. This is vital to understanding what the person is going through.
- Stage an intervention. This may be with or without a professional interventionist present. Be sure to focus on how this alcohol problem affects everyone in the room. Stay focused on the people who can speak for themselves, using “I” statements about how you feel and what you experience.
- Be sure to have a plan before the intervention. You want to know what treatment center you will take her to, and the consequences of a failure to seek treatment. In some states, alcohol abuse during pregnancy, as well as other substance abuse, is considered child abuse and may result in legal action. Be sure to discuss all of the consequences.
- Be open and do not judge. Remember, if she feels like you love her and have her best interests at heart, rather than judging her for the choices she has made, she is more likely to seek treatment.
- Support her throughout the treatment and pregnancy. Especially for expectant mothers, this support is critical, as she is learning to deal with life without alcohol while she is still coping with the pregnancy hormones in her system.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and has made the decision to get sober, contact Right Path to locate a substance abuse treatment center that is prepared to deal with the unique issues you are facing as you work your way towards recovery.