First, don’t panic! The best thing to do, is stop consuming alcohol as soon as you find out you are pregnant. It is never too late to stop drinking. The sooner you stop consuming alcohol, the better it will be for both you and your baby. Then make sure you are getting regular prenatal care and maximizing other good health practices like not smoking, eating healthy and getting plenty of sleep. If you drank any amount of alcohol while you were pregnant, talk with your child’s health care provider as soon as possible and share your concerns.
Half of all pregnancies are unplanned. And many women do not know they are pregnant for several weeks or even months. There are many factors that determine if a fetus will be impacted by prenatal alcohol exposure. Often it is not just how much alcohol a woman consumes, but when she drank, her nutrition, genetics, age etc. The best advice is to not consume any alcohol during pregnancy if you are planning on becoming pregnant or are having unprotected sex.
If you are a mother of a child who was exposed to alcohol prenatally and would like to connect with other moms, please contact us.
For national support, visit the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) Circle of Hope at http://www.nofas.org/circleofhope/. The Circle of Hope are groups where women with incredible strength join together to share their stories, shed the shame and support each other through the challenges of raising children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).
“We do not know what, if any, amount of alcohol is safe. But we do know that the risk of a baby being born with any of the fetal alcohol spectrum disorders increases with the amount of alcohol a pregnant woman consumes, as does the likely severity of the condition. And when a pregnant woman consumes alcohol, so does her baby. Therefore, it’s in the child’s best interest for a pregnant woman to simply not consume alcohol”.
In addition, studies indicate that a baby could be affected by expsosure to alcohol while pregnant even within the earliest weeks after conception, and before a woman knows that she is pregnant. For that reason, the U.S. Surgeon General is recommending that women who may become pregnant also abstain from alcohol.