Saturday 3 December 2016

Potential effects of drinking alcohol during pregnancy

Published 21/04/2015 | 02:30

Inducing women at 37 weeks can cut health risk
Inducing women at 37 weeks can cut health risk

Exposure to alcohol can seriously affect the baby's development, particularly the brain and spinal cord.

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Binge drinking is more harmful than drinking small amounts of alcohol. However, there is no "safe" level of alcohol use during pregnancy.

A baby exposed to alcohol in the womb is more prone to illness, physical problems, and learning and behavioural disorders. A baby may have any of the following problems:

Poor growth while in the womb and after birth, so the baby is shorter and smaller than average, sometimes with deformed limbs

Small head and jaw

Distinctive facial features such as small eyes set far apart, a thin upper lip, a smooth philtrum (ridge that runs below the nose to the top lip)

Cerebral palsy - a problem in the parts of the brain responsible for controlling muscles, which affects movement and co-ordination

Learning disorders - problems with thinking, speech, social skills and/or memory (for example, finding it difficult to translate thinking into saying, or reading into speaking)

Mood, attention or behavioural problems - for example, autistic-like behaviour, ADHD or sleep problems

Problems with the liver, kidneys, heart or other organs

Hearing and sight problems

Epilepsy

A weak immune system

Irish Independent

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