Avoid: Too Many Sugary Beverages
Not all sports drinks are created equal. “Sports drinks often contain carbohydrates in the form of sugar, as well as electrolytes and minerals and sometimes protein, vitamins, or caffeine,” wrote Michigan Medicine. Amos Grünebaum, an obstetrician and gynecologist specializing in high-risk pregnancies revealed that sugar is actually pretty safe during pregnancy. “Sugar can be consumed during pregnancy in moderation if you don’t have Type I, Type II or gestational diabetes,” he revealed in an article for BabyMed.
In good health, it’s okay to consume sugar during pregnancy, but you may still want to consider monitoring how much you’re drinking sugary beverages. That is, make sure you’re not solely relying on sports drinks, or drinks with even higher amounts of sugar, to meet your fluid intake goal. Registered dietician Natalie B. Allen agrees that sugary beverages are not generally harmful to the baby, but she also pointed out that they’re not all that nutritious either. Occasionally indulging in a sugary beverage is probably A-okay, but it’s best to maintain balance and overdoing it throughout your pregnancy.
What Studies Say About Drinking While Pregnant
The research is conclusive: Binge drinking and heavy consumption of alcohol in pregnancy pose a definite risk to the developing fetus. However, we just dont have the same level of conclusive information when talking about low-level alcohol consumption.
For example, a 2012 Danish study examined the effects on 5-year-olds whose mothers drank alcohol during pregnancy, categorized as follows:
- Low consumption: One to four drinks a week
- Moderate consumption: Five to eight drinks a week
- High consumption: Nine or more a week
- Binge drinking: Five or more drinks during a single occasion
Researchers who knew nothing about the maternal consumption of alcohol during the pregnancy examined the 5-year-old children of those pregnancies. They performed tests on IQ, attention span, and executive functions such as planning, organization, and self-control. They were unable to tell any difference between children whose mothers drank low to moderate amounts of alcohol and those who abstained completely during pregnancy.
While this would seem to suggest that low-level alcohol consumption is safe during pregnancy, there are other factors to consider. First, while the study included 1,600 women, thats still a relatively small sample size. Second, childrens brains are still developing at age 5, and the full effects that alcohol may have had on them may not yet be measurable.
Tips For Quitting Drinking During Pregnancy
Some women give up alcohol easily during pregnancy especially if they develop an aversion to the taste and smell of booze.
For others, particularly those who are accustomed to unwinding with a cocktail at the end of the day or sipping a glass of wine with dinner, abstinence may require a concerted effort and may include a lifestyle change. If you find youre among the latter, try these tips:
- If you drink to relax, try to find other ways to unwind like music, warm baths, massage, exercise, reading or even sex.
- Switch to non-alcoholic alternatives. Sparkling juices, pregnancy-safe mocktails and non-alcoholic beers can step in at the times youd typically reach for an alcoholic drink. Serve them in the usual glasses , to help recreate the drinks that youre missing.
- See if your partner, family or friends are willing to join you on the wagon, at least while in your company. The ride will be considerably smoother! Or ask if a loved one can distract you with an alcohol-free activity at times you might be tempted to unwind with a drink, like Friday night after a long work week.
- Ask for help from your practitioner if youre having trouble giving up alcohol. Your doctor may be able to offer advice or refer you to a program that can help you quit, such as your local Alcoholics Anonymous chapter or a nearby substance abuse treatment facility.
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How To Talk To A Woman Who Is Drinking While Pregnant
Many women who drink while pregnant think the amount they consume is safe. They may live or associate with others who consume similar levels of alcohol and consider it to be normal.16 They may be unaware that consuming any amount of any type of alcohol puts the fetus at risk.
If your friend or loved one is pregnant or trying to get pregnant and you are concerned about her drinking, tell her youre worried and concerned. Be sure to avoid judgement and labels like alcoholic, and be compassionate in your delivery. Provide information that youve learnedmaybe reference material from this articleand encourage her to speak with her doctor or a healthcare provider.19 Pregnancy is often a strong motivator for a woman to change her drinking behavior, and research suggests that even brief behavioral counseling interventions with women who engage in at-risk drinking can reduce the risk of alcohol-exposed pregnancy.11 If additional support is required, encourage your loved one to join a mutual-help group or seek out a treatment program.19
Alcohol dependency and AUD in pregnant women is relatively rare. If medical advice and brief behavioral interventions arent successful in controlling alcohol use, it is important for her to receive
Benefits Of Drinking Sparkling Water During Pregnancy
Here are a few benefits of drinking this type of carbonated drink
- Craving sparkling water during pregnancy can help with nausea, a sense of queasiness, and dizziness, especially during the first trimester.
- It can prevent dehydration and keeps you hydrated during pregnancy.
- Drinking sparkling water during pregnancy can help to relieve pregnancy-related constipation and hemorrhoids.
- It is not high in caffeine, therefore, can be a good option for those want to limit their caffeine intake. Dont be worry about your caffeine intake, and drink sparkling water instead of unhealthy carbonated drinks such as, soda and energy drinks.
- Sparkling water has no sugars, and because of that can be a part of diet for gestational diabetes during pregnancy, and reduce the risk of over weight gain and obesity.
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Green Tea Or Black Tea
Drinking green or black tea is a good way to make sure you take in only a moderate amount of caffeine while still enjoying having a warm beverage.
“Teas are great alternatives because they have a slightly lower amount of caffeine and give you a great kick!” says Dr. Shaheen.
A cup of green tea has about 30 milligrams of caffeine, and a cup of black tea has around 50mg. This may be enough caffeine to prevent caffeine withdrawal for someone who had previously been drinking much more caffeine while keeping your consumption low enough to be safe during pregnancy. It is also typically enough caffeine to offer an energy boost without a jittery feeling.
Why Alcohol Is Dangerous
Alcohol in the mothers blood passes to the baby through the umbilical cord. Alcohol use 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 . Children with FASDs might have the following characteristics and behaviors:
Polysubstance Use in Pregnancy
- Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip
- Small head size
- Difficulty in school
- Learning disabilities
- Intellectual disability or low IQ
- Poor reasoning and judgment skills
- Sleep and sucking problems as a baby
- Vision or hearing problems
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What Effects Does Alcohol Have On An Unborn Baby
When you drink, alcohol passes from your blood through the placenta and to your unborn baby. It can affect the development of the babys brain, spinal cord and other organs.
The first trimester is the time when the babys organs are developing most quickly, so that is the time of highest risk of harm to your baby. However there is no safe time to have alcohol during your pregnancy.
Research On Alcohol During Pregnancy
Studies over the past decade have yielded conflicting results about the risks of alcohol use on infants. For instance, a 2013 study compared birth outcomes in over 5,600 women in England, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand who were pregnant for the first time.
In terms of alcohol consumption, the authors found that during the first trimester:
- More than half of women reported drinking alcohol.
- 34% reported at least one binge episode.
- 19% said that they had one to two drinks per week. A drink was defined as one glass of wine or less than a 12-ounce bottle of beer.
- 25% said that they drank three to seven drinks per week.
- 15% reported having eight to 14 drinks per week.
- 5% consumed more than 14 drinks per week.
In comparing all of the study participantsboth those who drank and those who did notthe data showed no association between alcohol consumption before 15 weeks and adverse birth outcomes, measured as low birth weight, small birth size, preterm birth, and preeclampsia (a potentially life-threatening condition in which a pregnant person develops high blood pressure.
This study did not focus on mental impairment caused by alcohol exposure during pregnancy.
More recent research has found different results, including a 2020 review of 23 studies that examined the effects of alcohol intake in pregnancy. Data from these studies revealed an increased incidence of low birth weight and cognitive problems in children born to parents who consumed alcohol in pregnancy.
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Can Alcohol Cause Birth Defects
Using alcohol during pregnancy is the leading preventable cause of birth defects. Birth defects are structural changes to the body that are present at birth.5 Alcohol can act as a teratogen, which refers to any agent that causes fetal abnormality during pregnancy.1 The mothers use of alcohol during any stage of pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of birth defects and developmental problems, collectively referred to as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders .1,6
Alcohols effect on physical and structural development can manifest in several birth defects, including:2,7
- Abnormal facial characteristics that may include wide-spaced eyes, a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip , a flat nasal bridge, a thin upper lip, and an upturned nose, among others.
- Small head circumference.
- Below average height and weight.
- Problems with eyesight or hearing.
- Bone, heart, and kidney issues.
Is Wine During Pregnancy Safe
Generally, it is known that excessive drinking is the cause of many of the complications which can occur during pregnancy, as a result of alcohol. These risks may not be associated as strongly with occasional drinking.
However, despite the varying information out there, the safest and most universal answer to this question is that no amount of alcohol has been deemed safe during pregnancy, and if at all possible, even casual drinking should be avoided.The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Pregnancy Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics all note that no amount of wine during pregnancy is deemed safe and that consuming wine while pregnant should be avoided.
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Is It Safe For Baby
Drinking wine during pregnancy is not considered safe for a developing fetus. This includes any amount of wine at any point in pregnancy.
In fact, any kind of alcohol consumption puts your baby at risk for birth defects, learning problems, and more, overruling any potential benefits, like the antioxidants in red wine or help with sleep or relaxation.
Alcohol And Pregnancy: Facts And Statistics
Some statistics about the prevalence of alcohol consumption during pregnancy may be surprising. In a three-year studyfrom 2015-2018, pregnant women, ages 12-44 were surveyed about their alcohol and other substance use. Here are some of the findings:14
- One in 5 pregnant respondents in their first trimester reported alcohol use in the past 30 days, and 10.5% of those reported binge drinking in the same period. Women who reported binge drinking averaged 4.5 binging episodes during the 30 days.
- Women are less likely to consume alcohol as their pregnancy progresses. Among second and third trimester respondents, 4.7% reported drinking in the past 30 days 1.4% reported binge drinking.
- Approximately 40% of pregnant respondents who reported to drinking within the last 30 days, also reported using other substances, including tobacco, marijuana, opioids, cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants, methamphetamines, and more.
- Worldwide, 1 in 67 women, who consumed alcohol during pregnancy, will deliver a child with fetal alcohol syndrome, or FAS. That translates to about 119,000 children born with FAS every year.15 FAS is the most severe form of FASD. People with FAS experience growth problems, central nervous system dysfunction, and facial malformation or anomalies.7
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Tips To Avoid Alcohol During Pregnancy
It can be hard to avoid alcohol in social situations, particularly in the earlier stages when others might not know about your pregnancy. You might feel pressured to behave like you normally would, which may include drinking.
Pregnancy is a natural stage of life and shouldnt stop you from socialising. But if you are in a situation where drinking is involved, a good alternative is to have a non-alcoholic drink you enjoy. You might also find it helpful to say:
- No, thank you, Im not drinking tonight.
- No, thank you, I have to drive.
- I have a big day/early meeting tomorrow so no thanks.
- Im not feeling the best so would rather not, thanks.
If youre used to drinking at home, perhaps at the end of the day to relax, you might consider alternatives like taking a bath, going for a walk or reading a book.
Avoid: Caffeinated Tea And Coffee
For some, it can be hard to picture going nine months without a cup of coffee or strong, black tea. Though, you don’t actually have to give up caffeine in its entirety. According to the American Pregnancy Association , moderate levels of caffeine anywhere from 150 to 300 milligrams per day have not been linked to any negative effects on pregnancy. However, it’s important to remember that it’s not just coffee and tea that contain caffeine. Chocolate, soda, and even some types of medicine contain the stimulant. It can be easy to go well over 300 milligrams without even realizing.
Of course, you may choose to play it safe and do without caffeine altogether. In fact, the APA says that “avoiding caffeine as much as possible is your safest course of action.” This is partly because an unborn baby is incapable of metabolizing caffeine the way an adult can. “Even a small amount of caffeine can cause changes in your baby’s sleep pattern or normal movement pattern in the later stages of pregnancy,” the APA cautioned.
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What If I Need Help To Stop Drinking
If you drink heavily and you think you may have problems stopping, talk to your doctor or midwife. This is because you may have withdrawal symptoms. These can include delirium tremens , and you will need help to manage them. The healthcare team caring for you during your pregnancy can give you advice and support.
Here are some organisations that can also support you:
- We Are With You a UK-wide treatment agency that helps individuals, families and communities manage the effects of alcohol and drug misuse
- Alcoholics Anonymous a free self-help group its “12-step” programme involves getting sober with the help of regular support groups
- NOFAS-UK helpline on 020 8458 5951
Can Pregnant People Drink Milk That Hasn’t Been Heat
During pregnancy, make sure to only drink milk thats been pasteurized or ultra-heat-treated . These preparations use heat to kill bacteria and prevent food poisoning, which can harm a pregnancy and the future baby’s health.
Cows’ milk that’s sold in shops is pasteurized, but you can still find unpasteurized or “raw” milk for sale from some farms and farmers’ markets. The label will state what kind of preparation youre purchasing.
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Can You Drink Wine While Pregnant
Drinking & Pregnancy January 19th, 202210 minute read
There isnt any research out there that definitively says you can drink wine while pregnant. Wine isnt safer than any other type of alcohol, and there is no safe level of wine you can drink while pregnant.
It isnt about timing, either. While the first trimester seems to be the most significant danger zone for risky behaviors like wine drinking, there is no safe time during pregnancy for alcohol consumption.
The guidance is consistent with public health groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. To be completely safe, women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should abstain from alcohol completely.
That means no wine of any kind, at any time, unless your occasional drink is a non-alcoholic wine.
The Risks Of Heavy Drinking While Pregnant
Heavy drinking and especially binge drinking during pregnancy can result not only in many serious obstetrical complications but also fetal alcohol syndrome , the most severe of the FASDs.
This condition results in infants who are often born undersized and mentally deficient with multiple deformities and underdevelopment of the central nervous system.
Later in life, babies with FASDs may be more likely to display vision, hearing, learning, behavioral and social problems. Theyre also more likely to suffer from mental disorders including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder , depression, sleep disorders and anxiety, and they’re more likely to end up with a drug or alcohol problem of their own.
Bottom line: The sooner you take alcoholic drinks off the menu when youre pregnant, the less risk there will be to your baby.
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Can You Drink While Trying To Conceive
As stated previously, its safest to abstain from alcohol during pregnancyfrom conception until birth. Currently, there is not enough data to conclusively understand the physiologic effects of alcohol consumption on a womans reproductive ability. However, studies indicate that chronic and/or prolonged drinking may lead to changes in ovulation and menstrual cycles.22 In addition, evidence suggests that even moderate drinking may negatively impact the effectiveness of in vitro fertilization .26