What You Need To Know: Preparing for Pregnancy
A healthy baby actually begins before a positive pregnancy test. Even before you become pregnant, it is important to take care of your own health to ensure a healthy pregnancy. This includes exercising regularly, eating healthy, taking a multi vitamin and folic acid, and stopping any health habits like smoking and drinking alcohol.
Nationally, nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned and many women do not know they are pregnant for 4-6 weeks after conception. Important brain development is occurring during this time frame and drinking alcohol can have a significant impact on the developing baby.
Your doctor said "having one drink will be okay."
Here is why it is NOT okay: No study has proven there is a safe level of alcohol during pregnancy. We know that alcohol can cause permanent brain damage to a developing baby. Why take the risk? All major medical associations advise pregnant women not to drink alcohol at all.
It's a BIG deal
When you drink alcohol during pregnancy, so does your baby. The same amount of alcohol that is in your blood is also in your baby’s blood. Although your body is able to manage alcohol in your blood, you baby’s little body isn’t. Researchers have learned that even small amounts of alcohol can cause physical and cognitive problems such as learning disorders, short-term memory problems, and attention deficit disorder that often don’t show up until children begin school.
"My Mother Said She Drank While She Was Pregnant and I'm Fine"
It's Not Fine...
You may know some women who drank regularly during pregnancy and has seemingly healthy babies. You may know some women who had very little alcohol during pregnancy and had babies with serious health conditions. Every pregnancy is different. Drinking alcohol may hurt one baby more than another. The best way to ensure a healthy baby is to stay away from alcohol altogether.
Out of all abusive substances, including recreational drugs, prenatal exposure to alcohol is most likely to cause neurobehavioral damage to a fetus, according to the Institute of Medicine.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are