Updated 05 June 2014

Alcohol in pregnancy

We all know that alcohol is harmful to the foetus. Because we still don't know what the safe limit is, it is best to avoid a drink altogether.

Researchers have proven beyond doubt that alcohol is harmful to the foetus. Use of alcohol during pregnancy has been associated with an increased rate of spontaneous abortion, low birth weight and foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).

Features of FAS in babies include:

  • Growth failure (both during pregnancy and following delivery)
  • Developmental delay
  • Facial abnormalities
  • Impaired mental activity (mental retardation)
  • Brain, heart and spinal defects

The placenta doesn’t form an adequate barrier between the foetus and substances like alcohol, drugs and other toxins. There is no safe limit for alcohol use during pregnancy. FAS has been reported following a single episode of overindulgence.

The safe option is, not to take any alcohol during pregnancy.


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