Alcohol and pregnancy

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Alcohol during pregnancy
Alcohol during pregnancy
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If you’ve got a special little bun in the baking oven, just remember what ingredients you’re cooking with. In this case, if the cook is tipsy, so is the bread. There are many studies on the dangers of drinking alcohol while pregnant, and we know there is a link between booze and baby. Basically, smoking and drinking while pregnant certainly doesn’t help. Imagine trying to grow fingers when you’re drunk … let alone a brain!

Guidelines for alcohol consumption during pregnancy

In 2001, the Government said that women:

  • May consider not drinking at all;
  • Most importantly should never become intoxicated;
  • If they choose to drink, over a week, should have less than 7 standard drinks AND on any one day, no more than two standard drinks (spread over at least two hours);
  • Should note that the risk is highest in the earlier stages of pregnancy, including the time from conception to the first missed period.

Last year, they changed this viewpoint, saying no drinking at all is best while pregnant or breastfeeding. It has been reported that the majority of women don’t drink when they know they are pregnant, but some still do – West Australian women in particular seem to have high rates.

A lot of women who drink while pregnant may be suffering alcohol addiction, which makes it particularly difficult. However, many women may not even realise they are pregnant, so continue drinking as they normally would.

Health risks associated with alcohol consumption during pregnancy

It’s been shown that a baby may suffer both cognitive (thinking, learning and memory) and behaviourial defects if the mother has been drinking heavily during pregnancy, especially in the early stages.

There is even a condition called foetal alcohol syndrome, characterised by:

  • Abnormal facial features;
  • Retarded growth; and
  • Brain damage, which can manifest as learning or behavioural difficulties.

No one wants this for their child, so abstinence from alcohol is the best possible option for pregnant women.

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What women should know about alcohol consumption during pregnancy

Australian culture is heavily focused on drinking and many of our social gatherings are held down at the pub. So don’t be afraid to talk about this if you feel you may struggle. Your GP will be happy to discuss how you can deal with your pregnancy and any fears you may have in regards to what you are putting in your body.

If you need extra information, then start by having a look at areas like:

More information

Pregnancy and alcohol consumption  For more information, see Pregnancy and Alcohol Consumption.


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Date Created: November 30, 2011 Date Modified: January 12, 2017