Have Pediatric Questions? Ask a Pediatrician.
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When a mother drinks, her unborn child is exposed to alcohol. As opposed to a common misconception, the baby is not protected in the uterus from alcohol exposure. Excessive drinking by the mother at any time after fertilization of the egg may result in damage to the developing child.
Everyone wants to know “how much is too much”. Although alcohol-related birth defects are believed to be induced in a dose-response manner, low dose effects are very difficult to scientifically assess in human populations. Whether there is a threshold below which alcohol can be consumed without harming the conceptus is not known. Also, due in part to individual variability (susceptibility), research will not be able to provide an accurate answer for everyone. To date, studies indicate that most neurobehavioral effects can be caused by a pregnant woman drinking from 0.5 to 2 ounces of absolute alcohol per day (7 – 28 drinks with each containing 0.5 ounces of absolute alcohol per week; an 8 oz. can of beer contains the same amount of alcohol as a glass of table wine or a serving of fortified wine or a 1 oz. shot of liquor). Although this would indicate that even one drink per day can cause measurable consequences to the offspring, the drinking patterns of many of the women studied were such that the majority of the drinks consumed in one week were on only one or two occasions, rather that one drink each day. It is expected that self-reported data showing a relationship between moderate use and alcohol-related birth defects may often underestimate the true level of drinking. High peak blood levels of alcohol are important predictors of adverse outcome. Binge exposures (at least 5 standard drinks on any occasion) result in a greater frequency of neurological sequellae than the same amount of alcohol distributed across a greater time course.
. Because it is not known at what dosage alcohol damage begins, it is prudent to recommend that pregnant women abstain from alcohol use
Now in the situation that you have described, the above information suggests that there would certainly be a small yet significant risk of FAS or ALCOHOL-RELATED BIRTH DEFECTS (ARBDS) in this situation
The exact risk may be difficult to quantify, BUT it certainly exists, and this needs to be discussed with the treating doctor, so that early detection & management of the baby can be initiated if there are any symptoms
Please leave a positive feedback, & get back for any clarifications
How can the risk of FAS or ARBDS be a "small yet significant risk"? Are you saying that the risk is small but the consequences related to that risk are significant?
To put it another way, is the significant risk that you identified one where I should consider terminating the pregnancy, in light of the risk?
Hello,You have not indicated what your term is now. You should also have undergone ultrasound and other antenatal checks. Very early in conception there is only embryo and very few organs are formed.A cessation of drinking at this early stage will most probably prevent any lasting damage to fetus and a healthy offspring is very likely.Fetal alcohol syndrome is referring to a condition when mother continues drinking most through out the term.
There is no association between low or moderate prenatal alcohol exposure and birth defects.
I was 4 weeks and 3 days from my last menstrual cycle (about 2 weeks after conception) when I stopped drinking, although the drinking before that time was moderate on a daily basis (no more than 1-3 drinks), with one occasion of binge drinking (12+ drinks).
I am now 9.5 weeks since my last period, and fetal growth was on track at the last ultrasound at 8 weeks 4 days. The fetal heartbeat at that time was 160 beats per minute.
To confirm, the likelihood that the child will be healthy is still high, even though I had the binge drinking episode at exactly 4 weeks from my last period? I thought the previous pediatrician indicated that I have a small but significant risk for fetal alcohol syndrome or alcohol related neurological birth defects.
Why is that not an indication that the pregnancy should be terminated? I thought you said that there is a significant chance that the child will have fetal alcohol syndrome.