How Alcohol Affects Your
Take Control of Alcohol: Change Your
You Should Know That
About 1 in 12 women drink during pregnancy, about
1 in 30 pregnant women binge drink (consume five
or more units of alcohol during any one occasion)
and women who have 5 or more drinks a week are
70% more likely to have a stillborn baby than non-
drinking women. These were facts revealed in a
recent survey carried out by the Centre for Disease
Control and prevention (CDC).
This presentation will provide answer to questions
like: how dangerous is alcohol to a baby in the womb
(fetus)? At which stage of pregnancy is it dangerous
to drink alcohol? How much alcohol is dangerous
during pregnancy? What can you do as a husband if
your alcoholic wife is pregnant? and more…
How Dangerous is Alcohol to a Baby in the
The dangers posed by alcohol to a baby in the womb
vary from one baby to another, but the potential
defects are usually irreversible and include physical
deformities, organ defects and neuro-develpomental
The range of effects alcohol could have on a child is
described by the term Fetal Alcohol Spectrum
Disorders (FASDs). These disorders which range from
mild to severe can include
physical, mental, behavioral and learning disabilities.
Even more disastrous than FASDs is Fetal Alcohol
Syndrome (FAS) which is the most severe danger
posed by alcohol to a baby in the womb.
Just A Little More on FAS
CDC studies suggest that in the U.S alone between
1000 and 6000 babies are born every year with FAS.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is one of the most common
causes of mental retardation. However, the good
news is that FAS is 100% preventable! In the later
part of this article, you will discover how to prevent
this dreadful syndrome.
At Which Stage of Pregnancy is it Dangerous to
Drinking alcohol can be dangerous to your unborn
child at virtually any stage of pregnancy.
However, the danger varies at different stages during
pregnancy and also varies from one pregnancy to
The first three months are particularly sensitive
because at this first trimester stage, organs are being
formed in the child. As a result, heavy drinking
during this stage can cause babies to be born with
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). At this stage, alcohol
may cause abnormal features and early brain
development may be affected.
Still On Stages of Pregnancy
At later stages of pregnancy, drinking alcohol impairs
overall growth and increases the risk of miscarriage
and premature birth. At this stage, alcohol is
particularly toxic to brain cells and might result in a
small brain and further developmental problems.
Following the potential dangers of drinking alcohol
at all stages of pregnancy, the Department of Health
stands by its advice to pregnant women, and to
women trying to conceive, not to drink alcohol at all.
How Much Alcohol is Dangerous During
There is no amount of alcohol that is proven to be
safe, though Obstetricians say there is no proof of
harm from light drinking, which is no more than
once or twice a week during pregnancy.
However, more research is needed on the long term
effects of light to moderate drinking throughout
pregnancy. Heavy drinking is definitely harmful to an
unborn and though the effect of light drinking may
not be ascertained, completely staying off alcohol
during pregnancy or if there is a chance you may
become pregnant is the safest choice to make
How Can You Reduce The Risk of Your Child
Having FASDs or FAS to Zero?
Although FAS is incurable, the good news is that it is
100% preventable. The way to do this is to stop
drinking alcohol once you are expecting pregnancy
and during pregnancy. As soon as you become aware
that you are pregnant, quit alcohol and give your
coming baby the right to a healthy life.
What can Husbands do?
The major assistance husbands could render to
pregnant alcoholic wives is psychological support.
For example, the husband will have to stop drinking
alcoholic drinks where the wife is and also encourage
the wife to quit alcohol. Because of the difficulty in
quitting however, it is important for the husbands to
encourage pregnant wives to discuss alcohol use
with their Doctors, midwives or professional support
Other Helpful Tips
Try finding non-alcoholic drinks that you really
enjoy. Some women enjoy drinks that have a bit of a
bite, like bitter lemon.
Avoid situations where you usually drink, like
parties or bars.
Talk to your health provider and seek help to quit.
Ask your partner, family and friends to help you
stay away from alcohol.
Want more? Check The Resources on the next slide
Mommy Doesn't Drink Here Anymore: Getting
Through the First Year of Sobriety
Living With FASD: A Guide for Parents
Understanding FASD: Cause, Effects, and
Everything Changes: Help for Families of Newly
Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling
Others and Start Caring for Yourself
The Alcoholic Family in Recovery: A Developmental
OTHER GREAT RESOURCES