Why You Should Avoid Alcohol During Pregnancy

Editorial Team

While drinking during pregnancy might seem very foreign to most the truth is that some women believe that there is a safe amount of alcohol that they can take during their pregnancy. The Center For Disease Control and Prevention believe that there is no known safe amount of alcohol use during pregnancy or while trying to get pregnant. There is also no safe time during pregnancy to drink. All types of alcohol are equally harmful, including all wines and beer. When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, so does her baby.

They even advise that women also should not drink alcohol if they are sexually active and do not use effective contraception (birth control). This is because a woman might get pregnant and expose her baby to alcohol before she knows she is pregnant.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and a range of lifelong physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities. These disabilities are known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs).

In Nigeria, where a lot of people drink palm wine and it is believed to be good for the eyesight, breast milk production and treat conjunctivitis. According to Wikipedia, palm sap begins fermenting immediately after collection, due to natural yeasts in the air. Within two hours, fermentation yields an aromatic wine of up to 4% alcohol content, mildly intoxicating and sweet.

Most palm wine sellers usually wait for the fermentation process to occur sometimes even adding yeast to speed up the process before selling it.

This means that most palm wine sold are usually alcoholic so is this drink safe for pregnant women to drink?

“The problem with drinking alcohol during your pregnancy is that there is no amount that has been proven to be safe,” says Jacques Moritz, MD, director of gynecology at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York.

According to DailyMailUk, a new Australian study has found that small quantities of alcohol could alter a child's face without necessarily causing cognitive issues. However, they said they do not have any evidence to show these delays in facial development are harmful in any other way. the researchers found significant differences in craniofacial shape between children of women who abstained from alcohol during pregnancy and children with varying levels of prenatal alcohol exposure.

Stark differences were seen around the midface, nose, lips, and eyes. Alcohol-exposed children tended to have a more sunken midface and a turned-up nose. Those who experienced low exposure in the first trimester tended to only show differences in their forehead size. Babies with moderate to high exposure in the first trimester tended to display developmental differences in their eyes, midface, chin, and head.

The authors concluded: 'Although the clinical significance of these findings is yet to be determined, they support the conclusion that for women who are or may become pregnant, avoiding alcohol is the safest option.'