Alcohol consumption in pregnancy is not something we want to bet on. The risks are more damaging to your growth and your baby’s growth in the embryo. There are a lot of potential risks you may not be aware of. Here are some things you need to know about alcohol and pregnancy.

Image Source: Shutterstock

For years researchers have spent rolls of paper trying to figure out whether or not drinking during pregnancy is harmful (1). It has then been concluded that going overboard with your alcohol while you are expecting is indeed harmful. A small amount of alcohol is enough to cause damage and birth defects to the fetus.

Is Taking Alcohol During Pregnancy Considered Safe?

No! A strong no! The dangers of alcohol during pregnancy are multifold. Fetal alcohol syndrome is common for all pregnant mothers who consume alcohol. Alcohol can pass into the placenta and, thereby, into the baby’s bloodstream. If you still decide to drink when you are pregnant, drinking more than one or two units is not advisable.

Side-Effects of Drinking Alcohol While Pregnant:

If you are thinking it is completely all right to give into drinking occasionally, but only occasionally. Occasional drinking at parties and other social gatherings is not very likely to affect your baby in a negative or adverse way. If you are expecting and wondering about the effects of alcohol during pregnancy, here is a warning.

1. The liver is one of the last organs to develop in your baby, hence when you have alcohol, like any other nutrient that goes into your body, the alcohol also invariably reaches your child, and because of the absence of a liver or because of possession of a very small liver, the baby’s body cannot process alcohol as well as you can. This negatively affects the growth of the baby. Too much drinking or heavy alcohol during pregnancy is detrimental to your baby. If a mother indulges in heavy drinking, her child is likely to possess the effects of alcohol even after birth, and these effects can be lifelong.

2. Disorders in Babies if Mother Drinks Alcohol when Pregnant:

The main disorders in babies whose mothers consume alcohol during pregnancy are poor growth, behavioural problems, facial abnormality and learning disability in the child. Drinking alcohol while pregnant can also lead to more serious disorders like lifelong sight problems, hearing difficulties, sleep problems, speech delays, and low birth weight in your child. In some cases, doctors have also found that the effects of drinking alcohol during pregnancy lead to miscarriage, premature birth or the birth of a stillborn child.

3. Brain Damage and Still Birth:

Brain damage and stillbirth are the other side effects of alcohol in early pregnancy. The baby does not grow in the uterus or may even die.

4. Birth Defects:

Birth defects like vision problems, hearing problems etc. are the possible defects the baby might develop. Remember, the defects are long-term.

If you are still thinking about drinking alcohol while pregnant, our caution would be to indulge in occasional drinks and keep the quantity in mind. Do not get wasted, and remember how much it affects your body. Alcohol is a toxic substance for the baby because of the lack of proper organs to break down the alcohol; the developing baby tends to have a strong concentration of alcohol in their blood if the mother drinks because this drink will pass down to the baby. There are instances where ladies have indulged heavily in drinking while expecting yet have given birth to perfectly fine babies with no defects, while others who barely had a drink or two had some disorders in their babies, so it is best to be cautious. Every birth and mother-to-be are different, and so is her body.

Studies have shown that even a glass or two of any drink, be it wine, beer, vodka, or rum, will invariably affect your baby. While you see your friends drink, remember that their bodies can take it. You cannot, perhaps. If you happen to be a regular drinker, the best thing to do is stop consumption of alcohol once you find out you are pregnant. That way, you can keep diseases at bay and give birth to a healthy, happy child.

Also Read: Smoking during pregnancy and its effects

Effects of Taking Alcohol During Pregnancy:

As we said, we believe in no alcohol during pregnancy. Nonetheless, if you do so, here are some effects you will see in your baby.

A. Facial Features: The baby may have distinctive facial features. It can have a small head, flat face and sometimes narrow eye openings.

B. Growth Problems: Growth problems will stem with age. Children whose mothers drank alcohol during pregnancy will tend to be smaller than the others of their age.

C. Learning and behaviour problems also will surface with time.

D. Birth defects, problems bonding with your newborn, and feeding issues have also been observed.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Ways to Stop Taking Alcohol During Pregnancy:

  • The first way is to understand that it harms you and the baby fully. Knowing this, try to distract yourself by doing things that demand your attention. Keeping yourself distracted is the whole possible way.
  • Understand your alcohol craving time. Once you know this, try to take a walk or avoid being around the place. Do things that will ensure you are far away from alcohol accessibility.
  • Talk to your doctor for more remedies.

While quitting can be tough, self-control is the first thing you must practice. With that, things will fall into place.

How Does Alcohol Pass to The Baby in The Womb?

Alcohol will pass from the mother’s blood to the baby’s. It enters the baby through the placenta, which connects the mother and the baby. The placenta is ideal for feeding the baby with the nutritious food it requires for growth.

Can You Drink Alcohol When Pregnant?

The answer to whether you can drink alcohol while pregnant is fairly easy. Yes, of course, you can. However, SHOULD you drink alcohol while pregnant? Is very subjective. In my opinion, you should not. Not consuming alcohol for nine months will only do good for your body. If you still want to indulge in drinking, occasional or heavy, you should be well informed about the repercussions of your deeds. It greatly helps to talk to your doctor to debunk those myths and get to the truth. Seek your doctor’s opinion in this regard and make sure you know what you are doing because whether or not your drink will affect your child greatly.

Ask your doctor what is best for you, and stick to a healthy diet plan. If you are a regular party-goer who indulges in alcohol during such occasions, try to avoid such social gatherings. The alcohol will not become less toxic because it is your best friend’s birthday or your sister’s wedding. Indulge in other activities that will relax you and your child. You could go to spas, read books, or listen to good music. You could also cook up something healthy for you and your child.

Also Read: Wine during Pregnancy


By warning women not to have alcohol when pregnant, or to reduce their consumption of such drinks that may be harmful to the child, in the long run, is beneficial. People warn because they wish the best for the mother and child. Doctors will always choose a healthy baby over a mother’s party life and hence advise their patients to abstain from alcoholic beverages to eliminate the possibilities, in fact, the rarest possibilities, of the child being born with irreparable damage.

A lot of pain and regret can be avoided if you keep alcohol away for nine months until you stop nursing your baby. It is only about some control that can help you in the process. When you know you are pregnant, keep the home free of alcohol bottles or even the smell. That will essentially be your first step to quitting.


About Yashasvi

Yashasvi developed a deep passion for writing ever since she was completed her Master’s in Mass Communication and Journalism from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam and has chosen a career that is driven by creativity. A Parenting expert who believes in communicating effectively with a personal touch, she writes about pregnancy, baby care, lifestyle, and just about anything else.