liquor consumption

08 Nov, 2022

Alcohol in Pregnancy

Alcohol has been available for thousands of years during which it has been available and used for social and other reasons. Until 1960’s the role of alcohol as a teratogen and its effects on the cellular growth of the embryo and the fetus were not determined on scientific grounds.

book of judges

The ill effects of drinking during pregnancy can be attributed to the ‘Book of Judges’ which states “beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son…”


Another ancient historical reference to alcohol in pregnancy is traced in Aristotle’s Problemata, which states, “foolish, drunken, or haire-brain women most often bring forth children like unto themselves, morose and languid.”

Aristotle problemata

The academic references attribute this statement to an awareness of prenatal alcohol effects and recognition that consuming alcohol during pregnancy will affect the well-being of the child. Literature from the 18th and 19th century provides multiple pieces of evidence that people may have had some awareness that drinking during pregnancy may be detrimental to a baby’s health. ‘The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club’ by Charles Dickens and the ‘Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley, refer to perceived ills of consuming alcohol and giving the same to an incubating embryo. Not just the literature, but also the artistic references by William Hogarth depicts the evils of consuming alcohol.

gin lane

Gin Lane

beer street

Beer Street

Consumption of alcohol in pregnancy can negatively affect fetal development, resulting in multiple mental and physical disabilities clinically termed fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Children with FASD may experience the following characteristics:

  • • Abnormal Facial Features
  • • Hyperactive Behaviour
  • • Low body weight
  • • Poor Memory
  • • Learning Disabilities
  • • Speech and Language Delays
  • • Small Head Size

Alcohol in the mother’s blood passes to the baby through the umbilical cord. The teratogenic effect of fetal alcohol exposure leads to potential problems instantly after birth, during infancy, or even later, besides mental impairment in life. Studies conducted by various medical researchers have revealed that there is an increasing risk of adverse birth outcomes, preterm delivery, and low birth weight, with increasing levels of liquor intake.

Complications in Infant

  • • Cerebral Palsy
  • • Premature Delivery
  • • Pregnancy Loss or Still Birth

How much you drink is equally important as how often???

  • • Drinking large amount at one time can harm the baby
  • • Binge drinking can harm the foetus
  • • Even moderate amount of alcohol in pregnancy may lead to miscarriage
  • • Heavy drinkers are at an increased risk of giving birth to a child with FASD
  • • The more you drink, the more you raise the child’s risk

Even today, a worrying percentage of women continue the consumption of alcohol with little or no knowledge of the dangers. Knowledge about the risks of prenatal alcohol exposure is not widely circulated, emphasizing the need for more education to increase public awareness. The Basic Infertility Course and the Fellowship in Reproductive Medicine with Medline Academics cover the issue with great detail. Widespread information on this burning topic will help the practitioners in raising awareness between the consumption and sociodemographic characteristics of alcohol in pregnancy.

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