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Another ancient historical reference to alcohol in pregnancy is traced in Aristotle’s Problemata, which states, “foolish, drunken, or haire-brain women most often bring forth children like unto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

To Summarize

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is a significant risk to the developing fetus. Even moderate drinking can lead to serious health issues and developmental problems in the baby. Here are some key points to consider:

1. No amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy: There is no safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, and any amount can harm the baby's development.

2. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs): FASDs are a range of physical, mental, and behavioral conditions that can result from alcohol exposure in the womb. These can include birth defects, learning and behavioral problems, and other lifelong issues.

3. Timing matters: The first trimester is a critical period for fetal development, and alcohol consumption during this time can have the most significant impact on the baby's health.

4. The risks of binge drinking: Binge drinking, defined as consuming four or more drinks in two hours, can have severe consequences for both the mother and the baby.

5. Prevention is key: The best way to prevent FASDs is to avoid alcohol completely during pregnancy.

In conclusion, drinking alcohol during pregnancy is a serious risk to the health and well-being of the developing fetus. It's essential to make informed choices and take steps to prevent harm.

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