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Making Sense of Advice About Drinking During Pregnancy: Does Evidence Even Matter? PMC


Drinking alcoholic beverages while pregnant may affect your baby by leading to FASD, the most severe of which is FAS. According to the available research, FASDs typically result from heavy drinking or binge drinking. Still, some women enjoy a glass of wine from time to time while they’re pregnant, whether they know they’re pregnant or not. And a lot of the time, their baby is delivered with no health problems. Debra Waters is an experienced online editor and lifestyle writer with a focus on health, wellbeing, beauty, food and parenting. She currently writes for Goodto and Woman&Home, and print publications Woman, Woman’s Own and Woman’s Weekly.

  • If you crave these items, you might be experiencing a medical condition called pica.
  • Although sometimes cravings may appear to simply come out of nowhere, they are most often triggered by some environmental situation, feeling, or memory that one has about former alcohol abuse.
  • Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can have detrimental effects on the developing fetus, including a range of physical, cognitive, and behavioral problems, collectively known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).
  • ‘It’s thought that pica could indicate a nutritional deficiency of some form [often iron].
  • A study by Pregnacare of 1,400 mums found 67% had cravings while they were pregnant, with chocolate, fruit and ice lollies the most common.

If you drank more than 4 drinks within 2-3 hours while you didn’t know you were pregnant, definitely discuss the situation with your healthcare provider. Let’s take a closer look at pregnancy cravings—why they happen, how common they are, what types of food pregnant people tend to crave, and when and if pregnancy cravings become something to be concerned about. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is a significant health concern as it can harm the developing fetus.

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Fortunately, there are many alternatives to alcohol that can be enjoyed during pregnancy, from non-alcoholic mocktails to caffeine-free teas. In this article, we will explore some of the best options for replacing alcohol during pregnancy. The March of Dimes noted that there is is it safe to drink alcohol while pregnant no amount of alcohol that is considered safe during pregnancy. It can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome, low birth weight, cognitive impairment, and is just too risky to mess with. If your cravings are more than just cravings, and you’re having trouble with alcohol, seek help.

If you are experiencing cravings for alcohol, it is important to talk to your doctor or a healthcare professional. They can help you develop a plan to manage your cravings and avoid drinking during pregnancy. Continuing on from the idea of risk evaluation is the idea that alcohol can be used to relieve stress for the mother and this might outweigh the risk of harm to the baby. Women who are feeling anxious and stressed need to be clearly informed of the potential risks that alcohol may cause to the foetus.

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Women need to be provided with alternative strategies to manage any anxiety and stress. Further, midwives who might be currently promoting the use of alcohol for stress relief also need to be well informed of the potential harms of alcohol in pregnancy and the current NHMRC guidelines [9]. For example, resources such as MoodGYM are convenient and user-friendly tools that could be referred to by health professionals to help pregnant women who experience stress, anxiety and other mental health problems [27]. While it is well established that alcohol can cross the placenta to the foetus and can affect an infant’s development, many women continue to drink during pregnancy. For this reason it is important to determine what information is being provided, what information may be missing, and the preferred sources of information on this issue.

An intervention from loved ones can help some people recognize and accept that they need professional help. If you’re concerned about someone who drinks too much, ask a professional experienced in alcohol treatment for advice on how to approach that person. Trans-generational FASDs are a major unrecognised public health problem, he says. Teenagers with FASDs are more prone to binge drink and binge-drinking teenagers get pregnant more easily and create “the next generation of foetal alcohol kids”.

Maintaining a Healthy Relationship with Food During Pregnancy

Alcohol use disorder can include periods of being drunk (alcohol intoxication) and symptoms of withdrawal. She says the organisation has come across women in distress whose children have been newly diagnosed. He says if a disability is hidden, teachers don’t know how to teach children with it and can’t help them. To the best of our knowledge, all content is accurate as of the date posted, though offers contained herein may no longer be available.

This can help you blend in and avoid drawing attention to yourself. If you’re at a social event where alcohol is being served, you can also offer to be the designated driver. This is a great excuse for not drinking and can even be appreciated by your friends. When a person develops a dependence on alcohol, their body becomes accustomed to its presence, and they may experience withdrawal symptoms if they try to quit or reduce their intake. These symptoms can include anxiety, irritability, tremors, and even seizures in severe cases. Craving is one of the withdrawal symptoms that can occur, and it is a powerful urge to consume alcohol to alleviate the discomfort caused by withdrawal.

Michele Savage, founder of support organisation FASD Ireland, also wants to see the disorders become notifiable. “They can be helped if diagnosed under three when the brain is still plastic and so amenable to motor or sensory integration physical therapies and maybe even nutritional therapies,” he says. He believes it is essential for FASDs to become notifiable in Ireland. Giving the disorders that status would mean numbers could be properly quantified and proper services could be provided.

This further highlights the need for health professionals to provide clear and concise information. It was noted by participants in the study that health professionals, particularly midwives, might encourage the use of wine not only for stress relief, but as a benefit to the developing baby. It was also discussed among participants that wine would be the most socially acceptable type of alcoholic beverage to consume during a pregnancy, especially in comparison to spirits and hard liquor. This is in keeping with previous research which has suggested that pregnant women were more likely to consume wine as their alcohol of choice [24].

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