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doc4kids, Pediatrician
Category: Pediatrics
Satisfied Customers: 455
Experience:  General Pediatrics and Pediatric Emergency Medicine
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I have a question about binge drinking before I knew I was

Resolved Question:

I have a question about binge drinking before I knew I was pregnant. I found out I was pregnant a few days after a missed period, so at about 4 weeks and a few days from my last period. On the two weekends right before I found out I was pregnant, I had binge drinking episodes. I drank a bottle of wine in one night about a week after I conceived, and I had two bottles of wine in one night about two weeks after I conceived.

What is the likelihood that my child will have significant mental/neurodevelopmental disabilities as a result of that early drinking? I have not had any alcohol since I found out I was pregnant.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Pediatrics
Expert:  doc4kids replied 1 year ago.

doc4kids : Hello. How can I help? If you are available for a chat, we can discuss your concern in real time. Otherwise, I can just leave you a reply.

I am available to chat, but if you prefer to just leave a reply, that is fine with me

doc4kids : While it is certainly recommended not to have alcohol during pregancy, drinking is quite common and many women continue drinking, as you had, not aware that they are pregnant. Alcohol intake is often involved during conception too but this too is not as much of a concern relative to continuous drinking throughout the pregancy.
doc4kids : The statistics reported on the prevalence is around 1 in 1000 births. But again, the risk increases with continued and prolonged exposure.

Is the risk for significant brain damage to the baby higher with binge drinking in early pregnancy?

doc4kids : When you are describing your activity, frankly, there is greater risk of having problems with attachment to the uterine wall, and basic cellular organization. This could result in miscarriage. As long as you are not drinking now, the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome is low.

The heaviest of the binge drinking was at the beginning of the third week after I conceived (so about maybe 16 or 17 days after I conceived)


As a pediatrician, would you be alarmed to know about heavy alcohol exposure through early in the third week after conception, but not after that?

doc4kids : No, as I said before, drinking is reasonably common and as long as it was not sustained I would not be alarmed. If I knew that a mom was continuing to drinking, I would council her against that.
doc4kids : To drink, sorry
doc4kids : really, you shouldn't beat yourself up for this. As a new mother they'll be plenty of things to beat yourself up for over your child's life. :)
doc4kids : you should be commended for stopping drinking now.

So any drinking, no matter how heavy, in the first three weeks after conception will not likely cause a problem for the baby?

doc4kids : Unlikely to. That's correct.

At what point does drinking alcohol likely become a problem? I have stopped drinking but am wondering where the line is, where it becomes a likely harm

doc4kids : Does that answer your question?
doc4kids : Sorry, I didn't see your follow up.
doc4kids : Thats a good question, I don't know that I know that. Studies that would look at this in a prospective manner would involve having children exposed with greater amount or over greater duration and no one should consent to that. Retrospective studies atevdonevwith women self reporting and people aren't always honest.
doc4kids : I don't know the answer to that question but early could disrupt basic organization and cause miscarriage but as organs further develop, the exposure then could be more detrimental
doc4kids : Again, there may be studies delineating the specific threshold but I am not aware of them

Ok. But to clarify, it is your opinion that heavy or binge drinking within a few days after a missed period would not likely cause brain damage, that it would be more likely to cause a miscarriage?

doc4kids : Yes. Do you have an OB appt scheduled?

Yes. I saw the OB within a week of the positive pregnancy test. I had an early ultrasound at 5 weeks and a few days, which showed no heartbeat, but that was due to early gestation. I had another ultrasound about a week later, and we had a heartbeat by then.

doc4kids : Great.
doc4kids : I think you can put it behind you then.

Should I mention the heavy drinking to my child's pediatrician?


I know that is awhile from now, but I'm wondering if it would be better to get it out there

doc4kids : Typically, it will be asked of you when they ask about pregnancy and delivery.
doc4kids : Yes, I think disclosure is a good idea.

Ok. So even though the heavy drinking before I knew I was pregnant is not likely to have caused serious harm I should still disclose it if asked. Is that because there might still be problems related to the drinking, just in case?


(sorry, I think that is my last followup question)

doc4kids : It is generally a good idea to have your child's doctor have all the information available in the chance (outside chance) that there is any problems. Yes, it is an outside chance. Though, it is entirely up to you what you disclose. As the guys who generally asks the questions, I like to assume that mothers are giving me any information that might be helpful.

Absolutely. I just wanted to be sure I understood why that question would be asked. I've been very honest with my OB about the drinking and would plan on doing the same with the pediatrician.


Thank you so much, you've been very helpful.

doc4kids : Good. You are welcome.
doc4kids, Pediatrician
Category: Pediatrics
Satisfied Customers: 455
Experience: General Pediatrics and Pediatric Emergency Medicine
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