When we broach the discussion of pregnant women drinking wine, we find ourselves cornered by a lot of varying opinions. This isn’t based on scientific research, however, only social perceptions of wine during pregnancy and we are here to distinguish the right opinion from wrong.
You must have heard from a few people that drinking wine is actually helpful for soon-to-be-mothers as it helps them become more aware and energetic. This ruse is based on the argument that wine, in itself, is healthy due to the antioxidants it has. People use that connection to make it seem beneficial! After all antioxidants prevent us from heart diseases by increasing high-density lipoprotein levels in our bodies.
Another superstition is that wine helps pregnant women fend off obesity if they consume it for the first three months, that wine reduces the potential risk of miscarriage or that it protects them from artery damage. The truth is not reflected in any of these statements and the results of actual tests on mothers conceiving and drinking wine are a bit more complex than this.
Drinking wine during pregnancy is generally prohibited, and it carries a lot of danger for both the mother and the fetus. If you are on the fence about whether or not to drink wine, or the amount of it you can consume without causing harm to your baby, we can help you by providing detailed information about the risks and possible benefits of drinking wine during pregnancy.
What Do The Official Results Say?
In 2013, BMJ Publishing Group Ltd. published a research they conducted in UK and Ireland, Norway and Australia and the research was based on mothers who were expecting and their drinking patterns.
You may not be surprised by this but the mothers who absolutely did not drink wine and went on complete abstinence gave birth to babies that had marginally better brain development. But, we are sure you would be surprised to know that when women who consumed a little bit of wine or could be categorized as light wine drinkers and those who abstained completely were compared, the cognitive capabilities of babies of light wine drinkers turned out to be better. Wine is also cited as a stress and anxiety reliever, and could help women with depression and negativity while they are pregnant. However, these two positive notions about light drinking do not make wine an acceptable treat.
The reasons lie in the anatomy of the female womb. When mothers drink wine, their liver processes it and expels it outside their body but some of the alcohol passes through their placenta and gathers in the fetus. Now, the fetus does not have liver and this organ develops the last, at the far end of the gestation period. Till that time, a fetus is constantly exposed to wine without being able to process it and that becomes detrimental to its growth and safety. After all, think about a small living entity that cannot digest wine with all its hard constituents but the mothers blood keeps on piling it up within the fetus.
This is bad for fetus development and as per the American Pregnancy Association and American Academy of Paediatrics, wine consumption by expectant women is a big no. Medical professionals from UK also recommend that pregnant women or those trying to conceive must altogether quit alcoholic beverages made by fermentation, such as wine. Not even a little bit is allowed because of the risks it carries and for those who choose to ignore these advices and excessively drink wine, by the time they are 40 weeks into their pregnancy and the gestation period arrives they will be faced with many medical complications that could either harm them or the fetus.
The Risks To The Fetus, The Mother and Both
Drinking wine during pregnancy is a bad decision at best and could prove to be fatal at worst. There are many health risks on account of the fetus and the mother associated and most of it is rooted into the development of the fetus itself.
- Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD)
A complete array of congenital disabilities such as unusual facial characteristics, small head size and small eye openings can be the result of excessive drinking. Also children may suffer from mental disorders such as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) or ARND (alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder). Many foetuses are born at less than average birth weight and height in addition to a plethora of disabilities that are a direct result of prenatal alcohol exposure. These are classified as Fetal Alcohol Syndromes and Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndromes.
- Issues With Brain Development and Pre-term-birth
Among other major organs, consuming wine that passes through the blood and directly to the fetus, the brain is highly affected and that is really detrimental to the health of the fetus. We talked about light wine drinkers but another fact is that it can also result in premature birth at about 37 weeks of pregnancy or even before that.
- Miscarriages, Stillbirth and Sudden infant death syndrome
Perhaps the most fatal consequences of wine consumption is loss of pregnancy, baby being born after already dying in the womb and abortions. The facts state that babies born to heavy wine drinkers are prone to behavioural problems, and cognitive, learning and intellectual disabilities.
The Risks Are Not Worth the Relief
We have told you the risks and the results but how do pregnant women fight the temptation to drink? First off, they must avoid bars, clubs and those who drink and exchange alcoholic drinks for water and other refreshing beverages. There are many other healthy ways to relieve stress and pregnant women must gather as much support from friends and family to help them stave off alcohol.
The risks are far too severe to be taken lightly and we recommend all expectant women to avoid consuming alcohol. You can use these tips above as a starting point or simply remind yourselves of the potential loss and damage you face, each time your thoughts wander off to having a single sip of wine!