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Alcohol is injurious to health, especially for women who are are trying to conceive. If you want to really conceive fast, then you need to make sure that you get rid of alcohol. Alcohol also plays role in failure of occurrence of pregnancy. There is high risk of health issues to the mother as well as baby.
According to a study, three out of four women continue to consume alcoholic beverages while trying to get pregnant. Once a woman is pregnant, she needs to stop drinking because of the possible damage to the developing child can be serious enough to abstain from alcohol for nine months.
Since the early phase of pregnancy is the most vulnerable, the safest choice is to not drink at all if a woman is pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding. Even drinking lightly can reduce the chance of pregnancy. Alcohol quickly crosses the placenta to the fetus, which is often exposed to higher amounts than the mother due to its lower ability to process alcohol. Because of this, the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy can cause numerous disorders within the spectrum of fetal alcohol syndrome. These disorders include physical disabilities, learning, behavioral disorder that may have a life-long impact. (1)
There are three questions every woman should consider if she is planning to conceive:
- Could drink alcohol when trying to conceive cause harm to the unborn child?
- Do drinking hard drinks lower fertility rates, making it difficult to get pregnant?
- Could drinking in early pregnancy increase the risk of miscarriage?
The risk to the Mother
Alcohol can also affect a pregnant woman negatively, especially if she is struggling with addiction issues. She may suffer from psychological disorders, poor nutrition, smoke, or weigh less than average. All these issues place the unborn child at risk of developing alcohol-related health problems. After a baby is born, drinking habits may affect parenting and caregiving abilities of the mother, resulting in negative effects for both her and her child. Mothers with post-natal depression or those who lack support can be more likely to underestimate the amount of alcohol they have drunk. (2) Drinking more than five times a week can reduce a woman’s chances of conceiving, and 10 drinks or more decreases the likelihood of conception even further. According to a study women who consume 14 units or more per week had 37 pregnancies in 307 cycles, and those who did not drink had 1,381 pregnancies in 8,054 cycles. Women who drink during pregnancy may also put their own health at risk, they may experience vomiting and dehydration, high blood pressure, nutritional deficiency, and gestational diabetes. Alcohol affects everyone differently, so the safest thing to do is to not consume alcohol at all. If a woman has had many infertility issues before, it is imperative that she should avoid alcohol while she is trying to get pregnant. Even if a woman is trying to conceive through In Vitro Fertilization, alcohol consumption can lower the chance of IVF treatment turning out to be successful. (3)
Risk to Baby's Health
Drinking alcohol at any time while planning to conceive can cause serious health problems to the baby. Alcohol includes wine, wine coolers, beer, and liquor. Alcohol present in the blood quickly passes through the placenta and the umbilical cord of the baby. The placenta grows in the uterus (womb) and supplies the baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord. Drinking any amount of alcohol at any time during pregnancy can harm the baby’s developing brain and other parts of the organs. No amount of alcohol consumption has been proven safe at any time during pregnancy. (4) Drinking alcohol can increase the baby's chances of having these problems:
- Premature birth when the baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Problems with growth and development and brain damage.
- Birth defects such as hearing or vision problems. Birth defects can also cause problems in overall health; the way the body develops or works.
FASDs (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders) include intellectual and developmental disabilities. These problems are associated with problems while learning, communicating, taking care of oneself or communicating with others and delays in physical development. In cases of fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, the baby may have several distinctive features which include:
- Smaller head
- Shorter height as compared to children of the same age
- Low weight
- Smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip
- The child experiences hyperactivity in addition to heart, skeletal, kidney, vision, or hearing problems.
Binge drinking increases the chances of having a baby with FASDs including low birth weight babies (weighing less than five pounds or eight ounces), miscarriage and stillbirth (when a baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy)
Impact of Alcohol on Female Fertility
In many cases, infertile women who seek medical care for their fertility issues are known to have a significantly higher alcohol intake than women who conceive naturally. Alcoholic beverages contain a lot of sugar which decreases fertility by contributing to hormonal imbalance, insulin resistance, vitamin and mineral deficiency, yeast infection and lowered immunity. All of these factors may impair fertility for both men and women. Drinking alcohol during the time of ovulation lowers the chance of successful conception. Frequent alcohol consumption may result in an increased incidence of the menstrual disorders amenorrhea, irregular menstrual cycles and dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation). There is strong scientific evidence that alcohol can reduce fertility in both men and women. Women who consume more than four alcoholic beverages a week take longer to get pregnant. The risks of low birth weight, preterm birth, and small for gestational age (SGA, for a baby) all may increase when mothers drink above one to two units a day during or before pregnancy. (5)
Most women give up on alcohol once they are planning to become pregnant or when they know they are pregnant. It may not be difficult to avoid alcohol completely for nine months, as many women go off the taste of alcohol early in pregnancy. A pregnant woman or anyone trying to conceive should never attempt to stop drinking on his or her own. Seeking help from a professional is important to manage potentially life-threatening symptoms.
Tips to Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Women with more serious patterns of abuse (binge drinking, dependence) should seek in-depth counseling and rehabilitation treatment. Rehabilitation centers have professionals who can offer relevant treatment and information in order to stop alcohol consumption without the risk of relapse. Abstinence after a period of drinking can significantly improve the mother's and baby's health compared to drinking throughout pregnancy. Additionally, there are various possible therapies, interventions, and resources that can help women to stop drinking during pregnancy or while trying to get pregnant. Seeking support from family members, social support groups, religion and materials such as books that discuss issues pertaining to alcohol use have the potential for bringing about a change in social and behavioral aspects. Social support plays an important role in reminding women addicted to alcohol consumption on the need to abstain. Additionally, one should avoid motivators for alcohol consumption such as friends who may encourage drinking and other maladaptive behaviors while trying to conceive. (6)
- Drink plenty of water
- Get some exercise or take a walk, dance, go for a swim
- Keep stress away and smile often
- Do some meditation
- Do deep breathing exercise
If you are trying to conceive and concerned about the impact of your lifestyle choices on your fertility, consult OVO Fertility. OVO fertility can help you identify ways to improve your fertility and boost your chances of getting pregnant. Call us at +917899912611.
SOURCES AND REFERENCES:
- ^ Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy Is a Little Okay - The Bump Thebump.com, 06 June 2019
- ^ Alcohol and Pregnancy - Drinkaware Drinkaware.co.uk, 06 June 2019
- ^ Effect of Alcohol Consumption on In Vitro Fertilization - NCBI Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, 06 June 2019
- ^ Does Drinking at Conception Risk Babys Future Health - Futurity Futurity.org, 06 June 2019
- ^ How Much Influence Does Alcohol Have on Female Fertility - Medical News Today Medicalnewstoday.com, 06 June 2019
- ^ Tips to Cut down on Alcohol - Better Health Channel Betterhealth.vic.gov.au, 06 June 2019
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